Discussions of renovating Dillon Stadium to host a Hartford USL club continue, with some details about the plan beginning to surface.
The Hartford Sports Group, led by local businessman Bruce Mandell, has pitched a project to renovate Dillon Stadium and allow it to begin hosting a new USL club. The state bond commission has already approved $10 million in borrowing to fund some major work–including new seating, upgraded facilities, and a new turf–while Hartford Sports Group would bring a USL club to the renovated venue, and have it play home matches there as early as 2019.
Officials are working to finalize some key parts of the plan, including an agreement between the City of Hartford and the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA). The plan would call for the CRDA to manage Dillon Stadium for at least five years, with the Hartford Sports Group serving as the venue’s primary tenant. No agreement has been finalized to this point, however, as it remains under review by the Hartford City Council. More from The Hartford Courant:
“I want to say very clearly that while we continue to have productive discussions, the redevelopment of Dillon Stadium is not a ‘done deal,’” Mayor Luke Bronin said. “We have outlined the terms of a draft agreement for formal consideration by the city council, and that term sheet will be presented and discussed in detail with the public before any action is taken.”
A vote could soon be taken, however. Council members say the agreement will come up at their next regularly scheduled meeting on April 9.
In the meantime, a public presentation is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Sport and Medical Sciences Academy on Huyshope Avenue. Residents will have a chance to comment on the deal.
The contract requires CRDA to manage Dillon for five years, with the option for three, five-year extensions. Hartford Sports Group would pay $300,000 annually to cover overhead expenses, and another $25,000 that would go into a community fund. The fund will pay for neighborhood events and other community activities.
Should the agreement ultimately receive approval, officials could plan the renovations on a timeline that allows them to be completed by the spring of 2019. Dillon Stadium is a venue that was originally constructed under the auspices of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.
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