HARTFORD, Conn. – Construction resumed Tuesday on a minor-league baseball stadium in Hartford, Conn., after city officials finalized an agreement for surety provider Arch Insurance Co. to finish the project.
Arch is guaranteeing completion of Dunkin' Donuts Park, costs of which have risen to roughly $70 million.
"We're not putting any more money into the project at this stage of the game," Mayor Luke Bronin told reporters at City Hall.
"Right now, Arch has taken on the obligation for completing the stadium, they've taken on the obligation of stepping into the developer's shoes and delivering the stadium as promised, and they've taken on the financial obligation of paying for that completion.
"They're going about it in a smart, systematic way."
The ballpark was supposed to host Hartford Yard Goats games in minor-league baseball's Class AA Eastern League after the team relocated from New Britain, 12 miles away, but the ballclub was not able to play a single 2016 home game.
Bronin hopes to have the ballpark, which sits just north of downtown, ready for next season. The Yard Goats are a Colorado Rockies affiliate.
The stadium site, at Trumbull and Main streets -- planners call it Downtown North -- sits at the edge of Hartford's blighted North End neighborhood. For generations the site has been a no-man's land divided from the rest of downtown by east-west Interstate 84.
Costs have risen from the original estimate of $53 million. The city fired the original developer, Centerplan Construction, after Bronin in May called a $47 million performance bond.
Arch had the option of rehiring Centerplan but instead chose Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. to complete the project. Centerplan sued the city over the firing.
"From my perspective there is no relevant lawsuit," said Bronin. "I have no concern that Centerplan is going to be able to postpone or derail Arch's or Whiting-Turner's ability to do the job."
The city will pay Arch two payments of $400,000 plus $250,000 upon substantial completion of the park, all out of a stadium account in which the city has about $4.4 million remaining.
In addition, the city will withhold $2.9 million for outstanding payments for "furniture, fixtures and entertainment," and a further $141,000 for what it spent on security, fire protection and leak repairs after it fired Centerplan.
The ballpark controversy simmered with state capital Hartford's financial problems as a backdrop. The city has received four-notch general obligation bond downgrades the past month from S&P Global Ratings and Moody's, the latter's move dropping the city's bonds to junk.