So far, the unfinished Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford, Conn., is making more news before its first pitch, which may not happen until this summer, if at all.
Four men were arrested Saturday night for breaking into the minor league baseball stadium, which will house the Hartford Yard Goats, the Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Police found one man on the pitcher’s mound, one in the batter’s box and two in the outfield, the Hartford Courant reported. When a police officer approached one of the men and asked what he was doing, the man said, “Uh, playing some baseball,” the newspaper reported.
The four men were charged with second-degree criminal trespass. One of the men charged works for a contractor on the stadium, and the developers said no one had any right to be in the ballpark after hours, the newspaper reported.
The arrests come just a few days after the City of Hartford announced it is fining the developers $15,000 a day for missing a May 17 “substantial completion” deadline of the ballpark. The city also is seeking $50,000 from developers DoNo Hartford LLC and Centerplan Cos., for failing to meet the deadline on the $63 million publicly financed ballpark, the Courant reported. From the newspaper:
The Hartford Stadium Authority is also demanding a meeting with the surety that is insuring completion of construction and the developers by Wednesday to discuss finishing the job. “We’re doing our due diligence,” I. Charles Mathews, chairman of the Stadium Authority said. “This will give us a better sense of where we want to go.”
The Yard Goats, who have played their first 24 home games on the road (most recently in Norwich, Conn.), were scheduled to open at Dunkin’ Donuts Park on April 7, then Opening Day got pushed back to May 31 because of construction delays. Now the first home game will be in late June or early July, said Mathews, who added the ballpark is 95 percent completed, according to the Associated Press.
If the surety agrees that the developer has breached its contract with the city, it would cover the estimated $2 million cost of completing Dunkin' Donuts Park, the Courant reported. And if that happens, a halt in construction while the surety investigates the claim could take months, putting the entire season in jeopardy, according to the newspaper.