HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The move by New Britain’s minor league baseball team to Connecticut’s capital city is a done deal, Hartford’s mayor said Sunday.
Mayor Pedro Segarra said in an interview on WFSB-TV’s “Face the State” that the City Council has “uniform consensus” to approve the deal with the Rock Cats that includes construction of a $60 million stadium.
“It’s a done deal. It’s been submitted to the Council for their approval. There’s a resolution that’s on board,” he said. “We’re looking forward to opening day.”
New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said last week there was no confirmation when she asked the team’s managing partner, Josh Solomon, if the move is a done deal.
Thomas Deller, head of development services in Hartford, said Sunday that city officials verified the team’s claim it would leave Connecticut if it didn’t secure a site in Hartford.
“The team approached us because it wasn’t going to stay in New Britain,” he said. “It was either Hartford or somewhere else outside of Connecticut.”
The stadium’s proximity to interstates 84 and 91 will be used as a new economic development tool for Hartford, bringing visitors from Springfield, the University of Connecticut and areas south of Hartford, he said.
“There’s lots of potential to draw people easily into the city,” Deller said.
Comparable stadiums in Dayton, Ohio, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, are used for entertainment and feature restaurants and sporting goods stores that are open year round, he said.
In addition, Segarra said corporate chief executives have promised to support the stadium that Deller said can translate into purchases of stadium boxes.
Segarra and Solomon announced the deal on Wednesday. It calls for a nearly 10,000-seat stadium to be ready in time for opening day in 2016. The team has agreed to sign a 25-year lease, officials said.
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