Segarra: Private funds to be used to build Rock Cats new stadium - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Segarra: Private funds to be used to build Rock Cats new stadium

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra announced Friday the city is dropping its plan to spend public money to pay for a minor league baseball stadium in the city.

On June 4, city officials announced they had struck a deal with owners of the New Britain Rock Cats to bring the team to Hartford. The deal would prevent the AA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins Major League Baseball team from leaving Connecticut, possibly for Massachusetts.

The city would in turn build the team a new 220,000 square feet stadium on two empty Main Street lots, if team officials signed a 25-year lease. No state funding will be used for the project, according to city officials.

Originally, Segarra said he would bond the money for the $60 million stadium, which would mean the capital city would face $4 million of debt per year.

Segarra submitted a letter to Hartford City Council President Shawn Wooden on Friday requesting to withdraw the city's resolution for a new ball park for the New Britain Rock Cats right outside of the downtown area.

The mayor said instead, they'll seek proposals from real estate developers and construction managers for a public private partnership.

"This approach is consistent with feedback from the community, City Council and other stakeholders. To do this we have to revise the current resolution," Segarra said in a statement on Friday.

The move comes after a few public hearings, including a meeting where more than 300 Hartford taxpayers attended, the city has decided to not bond money and rely on private funding.

The mayor said the plan to move the Rock Cats to Hartford in 2016 has generated interest in redevelopment near the site and the $60 million in bonding is no longer needed.

City officials are expected to submit a new resolution by Aug. 11, which will be followed by a public hearing where all residents will be welcome to attend.

Segarra said the stadium build is part of "redevelopment of the entire Downtown North area."

"Our goal has always been the successful redevelopment of the entire Downtown North area. What was needed was a spark, a catalyst to drive further interest and development, and we believed the ballpark would be that spark," Segarra said.

The ballpark is also expected to bring around 665 full-time jobs, 900 construction jobs and up to 23,700 hotel stays in the surrounding area annually.

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