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September 15, 2017

Dillon Stadium could get makeover to attract pro sports

Dillon Stadium in Hartford.

Dillon Stadium could get a modest facelift now that the state and Hartford authorities are soliciting bids for renovations aimed at attracting a soccer or professional sports franchise.

On Friday, the Capital Region Development Authority posted a request for proposals due back by Oct. 13 that outlines the objectives and potential scope of the project.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said in an email that the city has partnered with the state to solicit proposals for its renovation "because the CRDA has deep expertise and resources in both the development and operation of sports venues.  We will thoroughly vet all proposals together with the CRDA and keep Hartford taxpayers and the local community front and center as we explore this opportunity."

CRDA Director of Venue Management Kimberly Hart could not confirm a potential project price-tag, noting it depends on “how fancy you want to get.”

“It’s going to depend on what a developer or team would like to do to the facility,” she said.

The work would be targeted for a finished project that could host not only professional but collegiate sports, the RFP states.

The makeover could include improvements to the playing field, replacement or refurbishment of bleachers, a new press box and skybox seating, and a new site entrance, among other infrastructure enhancements to lighting and sound. Any plan would have to address parking requirements for the stadium.

The proposal comes weeks after the scandal involving past stadium redevelopment plans moved toward resolution.

In July, James Duckett Jr., the would-be developer of a $12 million soccer arena at the stadium, was found guilty of bilking the city out of more than $1 million as part of a scheme to bring pro soccer to the Capital City.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated with comment from Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.

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