About two years after another effort collapsed, Hartford is seeking new proposals that could lead to Dillion Stadium being revived into a modern soccer stadium.
Several years ago, Hartford was working with Black Diamond Consulting Group to have its subsidiary, Premier Sports Management Group, redevelop Dillion Stadium for an NASL club that would begin play in 2017. However, after The Hartford Courant reported debts and a felony conviction connected with ownership, Hartford made the decision in October 2015 to back out of the agreement.
Now, the city and The Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) are partnering to seek proposals for Dillon Stadiumy. The proposal could result in Dillon Stadium being either redeveloped or renovated, with professional soccer being one of the possible uses for the facility. There have been inquiries thus far from people with ties to a number of leagues–including the USL, NASL, and the National Premier Soccer League–according to CRDA executive director Michael Freimuth. More from The Hartford Courant:
Inquiries so far have come from people with ties to the North American Soccer League, the United Soccer League and the National Premier Soccer League, Freimuth said. CRDA is aiming for a professional sports franchise in the request issued Friday, but is open to other proposals.
It’s the first time the city has welcomed tentative developers for Dillon Stadium since its last effort collapsed in 2015.
After stories in The Courant revealed irregularities in the project’s financing and shed light on developer James Duckett’s criminal background, Duckett and his partner Mitchell Anderson were indicted on federal fraud charges. Anderson pleaded guilty in February, and Duckett was convicted by a jury in July. Both are scheduled to be sentenced next month.
Duckett and Anderson sold Hartford officials on an ambitious but ultimately doomed plan to transform the dilapidated stadium in Colt Park into a $30 million to $50 million state-of-the-art arena that would impress motorists passing on the highway.
Dillon Stadium’s condition has fallen on hard times, according to The Courant, so any proposals will consider many of the issues at the facility. In addition, officials are hoping that developers would allow the facility to be open for community use. The deadline for bids is October 13.
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Photo courtesy USL and LA Galaxy II.