State OKs Borrowing For Renovation Of Hartford's Dillon Stadium | Connecticut Public Radio

State OKs Borrowing For Renovation Of Hartford's Dillon Stadium

Feb 19, 2018

On Friday, the State Bonding Commission approved $10 million in funding to redevelop Dillon Stadium -- an 80-year-old facility located in Hartford’s Colt Park.

The money is contingent on the city of Hartford agreeing to license the stadium to a professional sports team.

I wouldn’t have pushed it along if I didn’t believe that they’re pushing it along,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said. “But, I think that the step we took today was necessary to put those stars in alignment.”

Last November, the Hartford Sports Group was recommended by the Capitol Region Development Authority to the city of Hartford as its pick to be Dillon’s primary tenant.

The governor said that the alternative to paying for a rebuild was paying to take it down.

“Because the condition that it unfortunately is in, and quite frankly because of the financial conditions of the municipality, that stadium’s use has been lost to the people particularly of the Greater Hartford area,” Malloy said. “So, I think bringing it back is an appropriate thing to do.”

Bruce Mandell, the president of Hartford Sports Group, said that although Hartford has yet to formalize an agreement with his group, he said he remains in contact with the city.

“They’re giving some great input to make sure that this a community asset and something that can last for generations,” Mandell said.

HSG has said it will use around $7 million of its own money to bring a United Soccer League team to Dillon Stadium for the spring of 2019.

State Representative Christopher Davis was the commission’s lone ‘no’ vote.

“I would’ve liked to have seen them invest a little bit more money in the infrastructure of the stadium if they’re going to be the tenants of that stadium. But right now, $10 million seems to be an awful lot of money to be spending on a soccer stadium when we’re facing a fiscal crisis.”

Mandell and Hartford Sports Group will now wait for the city of Hartford to make the next move. He hopes to get the city council’s approval by the end of March.