The Hartford Sports Group is the preliminary pick to revamp Dillon Stadium, an 80 year-old facility in Hartford’s Colt Park.
But the recommendation from the Capital Region Development Authority on Thursday night came with a caveat: if the group wants to make it happen, it shouldn’t ask for $10 million in public funding—maybe cut it down to $7 million.
“We understand finances are difficult in the state and the city,” said Bruce Mandell, who runs the Hartford Sports Group. “But on the other hand, we want to make sure that we’re delivering a product to the fans that’s going to attract fans and make sense, so that’s the balance.”
Mandell is the president of a Newington-based direct mail company called Data-Mail. He formed HSG within the last two years with the intention of bringing a United Soccer League team to the capital.
His group is now looking for a $6.7 million ask, but that doesn’t include an artificial turf field included in the original proposal. That would likely cost an additional $1.5 million.
“We started out with a goal to have artificial turf so that we could have multi-use for it, the city could use it,” Mandell said.
Now it’s up to the city to make a formal pick. Mandell said if his group is to play there by 2019, he needs the city to make a decision within the next month. HSG is kicking in $7 million in private dollars—although much of it will be used to pay for entry into the league.
Correction: A previous version of this story said the recommendation was made on Wednesday. It was made on Thursday.