Hartford Breaks Ground on New Baseball Stadium
The ceremonial groundbreaking for a new $56 million minor league baseball stadium in Hartford happened Tuesday. The park for the New Britain Rock Cats has to be completed in just over a year.
The effort build a minor league baseball stadium began last June, when Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra announced a plan to build the stadium in the city. He called it a done deal, though it was anything but.
The next series of months saw the fundamentals of the proposal change several times over. What began as a stadium project is now a $350 million development to remake an entire neighborhood.
And this was a day for celebrating. Trees were being scraped from the site, snow was cleared, and officials stood on broken pavement where right field will soon be.
"This is a historic day," said Josh Solomon, the Rock Cats owner. "Breaking ground on a new professional ballpark here in downtown Hartford, which hasn't seen professional baseball within its city limits since 1952... The ballpark is yours, city of Hartford."
Council President Shawn Wooden said the deal is about more than baseball.
"I don't remember the city breaking ground north of I-84 here on a major project that will have such a catalytic impact on our city," Wooden said.
Segarra said the stadium is good for residents. "Our city needs family entertainment, affordable entertainment for our children," he said. "Our city needs the jobs. Our city needs to continue to go in a different direction."
Eventually, developers and politicians put their shovels into the dirt.
And now the work of building a ballpark ready to use in April 2016 begins.