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December 2, 2016

Judge approves Hartford ballpark mediation agreement

HBJ File Photo The incomplete stadium for the Hartford Yard Goats.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect action by the court on Friday.

The city of Hartford and former developer of the Dunkin' Donuts ballpark have agreed to participate in a formal mediation process to try to settle a legal dispute over the minor-league stadium’s construction.

On Friday, Hartford Superior Court Judge David M. Sheridan approved the agreement.

Middletown-based Centerplan sued the city after being fired from the job in June, and both parties had been in informal talks since August.

The minor league Hartford Yard Goats ended up playing the entire season on the road because the stadium was unfinished. More recently, Arch Insurance Co., the surety insurer for the project, assigned another developer, Baltimore-based Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., to complete the work in time for the next season in April.

Centerplan and the city assert in the agreement that Centerplan would preserve its right to pursue damages but would withdraw several requests for relief save an order compelling mediation. Those requests for relief include permitting Centerplan to resume work at the site.

Centerplan's original complaint states there are no provisions in the contract to build the park that allow the performance bond to be pulled without first seeking arbitration or mediation.

Raymond A. Garcia, the attorney for Centerplan, declined comment.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said late Friday, "This is a non-binding mediation that imposes no obligations on the city.  Our primary objective right now is to get the stadium finished, and what's important is that Centerplan can no longer interfere with the work being done by Arch Insurance and Whiting-Turner."

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