Hartford City Council to Hire Its Own Stadium Consultant

Jun 25, 2014

The proposed site for a Hartford ballpark.
Credit City of Hartford
"By no means is it a done deal."
Larry Deutsch

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra's plan to build a new minor league baseball stadium in the heart of downtown is facing more scrutiny from the city council. 

Segarra appeared on WFSB's "Face the State" a few weeks back. Here's how he put it: "It’s a done deal. It’s been submitted to the council for their approval. There’s a resolution that’s on board, and I think there’s uniform consensus on our council that this is something good for the city. So, we’re looking towards opening day.”

Since then, members of the city council have appeared increasingly less uniform in their consensus. Earlier this week, the council voted to hire its own consultant to study the park. It will spend no more than $7,500 to do so.

Council President Shawn Wooden said in an email that he wanted to seek independent advice. "Monday night," he said, "the Council authorized the hiring of a consultant to provide independent advice to the city council on the proposed baseball stadium. No consultant has been selected at this point.”

Larry Deutsch said that Wooden wanted some expert consultation. Deutsch, the council's minority leader, and a member of the Working Families Party, said the council wants to have a professional help figure out whether the deal makes good economic sense for the city and its residents. 

"Each and every day," Deutsch said, "I find citizens who vociferously object to the city spending $60 million. Even when I ask them, if it were given to us free, they raise questions."

I asked Deutsch whether the the mayor initially overstated the council's support for the stadium, or whether members of the council signed on without knowing the full details.

The answer, he said, is both.

For more on the proposed plans to build a minor league baseball stadium in Hartford, listen to WNPR's Where We Live Thursday morning at 9:00 am.