Hartford area residents hoping for the return of an NHL team suffered a setback when Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced he was not running for re-election.
It is going to be an uphill battle for those pining for the return of the Whalers franchise to Hartford. The chief proponent of the return, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy is not seeking re-election and not many elected officials are interested in pouring a quarter of a billion dollars in renovating the old arena. Then there was this. The 2016 home season for Minor League Baseball’s Hartford Yard Goats in Hartford was over before the first pitch was ever thrown. The ballpark was been padlocked by the city as DoNo Hartford and CenterPlan have been relieved of their duties developing a ballpark. Hartford has about $60 million committed to the entire project. The ballpark-village was supposed to be an economic engine in an area of the city that needed major help. The problem with stadium or arena village is that for the most part they are public policy failures. But politicians fall for developers’ lines saying that the ballpark and or an arena will be the central part of a plan and wait until you see what will go around the facility, it is great, it’s terrific, it’s the best.
Politicians are mesmerized by sports, even on a minor league level. But it takes money to build stadiums and arenas with all the money making gadgets that owners want. Politicians seemingly ignore example after example of failure and will point to Baltimore as an example of how an old downtown area was revitalized with a baseball park. How they forget the fact that Baltimore’s Inner Harbor project was planned without a baseball park and a football stadium. The stadiums have been great for Orioles ownership and Art Modell moved his NFL Cleveland Browns to Baltimore but overall the teams and stadiums did not act as an economic generator in Baltimore although Camden Yards is viewed as an ideal sports facility project. The Hartford ballpark was finished in time for the 2017 season but no one should expect a Hartford economic juggernaut because of a stadium or a renovated Hartford Civic Center.
The New York Islanders ownership politely said no to Hartford.