November 19, 2018

Hartford Athletic to mark Dillon Stadium progress

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED
PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED
A rendering of Dillon Stadium following renovations.
HBJ PHOTO | JOE COOPER
Hartford's Dillon Stadium weeks before construction crews began renovating the abandoned site.

State and local officials will join Hartford Athletic brass Monday afternoon in a groundbreaking ceremony at historic Dillon Stadium.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin are slated to join Hartford Athletic CEO and Chairman Bruce Mandell and head coach Jimmy Nielsen at the 2 p.m. ceremony marking the renovation progress at 250 Huyshope Ave.

Team officials will deliver an update on the multimillion-dollar, state-funded renovation project, which is expected to host its first Hartford Athletic game in mid-May. The team is one of the newest members of the Division II United Soccer League.

The renovation suffered a hiccup in September when an outdated concrete bleacher foundation slowed progress, according to the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA), the quasi-public agency overseeing the stadium construction. Other issues included the field being one foot higher from one end, among others.

Most of the problems were mitigated right away, and the stadium's seating capacity was reduced from 6,000 seats to 5,000.

The Athletic will begin its inaugural season in April on the road until the stadium is completed.

Mandell last week said Hartford Sports Group (HSG) is looking to bring professional rugby and lacrosse to Dillon Stadium. The exploration is aimed at further capitalizing on the renovated site and infusing more economic activity into the region, he said.

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