(Jan 20, 2016) Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin today announced that the City has received financial commitments from both the Hartford Yard Goats and DoNo Hartford, LLC, an affiliate of Centerplan Companies, to help fund a significant portion of the $10.3 million shortfall in the construction of the city’s new Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
Under the agreement negotiated by Mayor Bronin, the City of Hartford will receive $2 million from the Hartford Yard Goats baseball team, as well as a $2.3 million contribution from stadium developer DoNo Hartford LLC. DoNo Hartford LLC will also pay approximately $225,000 per year in additional taxes on the DoNo development for the life of any bonds issued by the City or the Hartford Stadium Authority. In addition, the City will no longer be responsible for paying approximately $500,000 to improve the indoor parking garage that was to be made available as parking for the Yard Goats.
As a result of the agreement, the Hartford City Council will be asked to approve an additional $5.5 million in new Hartford Stadium Authority construction funding, and DoNo Hartford LLC's additional tax payments will support approximately $2 million of that debt, leaving taxpayers to support approximately one-third of the total construction funding gap.
Under the revised agreement, the new substantial completion date for the stadium is May 17, 2016, and the stadium is expected to be available for an opening day of May 31, 2016, though Minor League Baseball's Eastern League has yet to finalize the Yard Goats schedule.
“No one wants to put more taxpayer money into this ballpark, but we have to play the hand we've been dealt," stated Mayor Bronin. “Our responsibility is to get the project back on track and avoid further delays that could result in additional costs to taxpayers and compromise the broader development at Downtown North. The deal we are announcing today represents our best effort to protect both the short- and long-term interests of Hartford's taxpayers."
Mayor Bronin added, “Let me be clear: no one is waving a 'mission accomplished' banner today. There is much work to be done, not only to complete the ballpark but to ensure that the rest of the downtown north development proceeds as promised. I am thankful that both the team and the developer contributed to a solution, and I look forward to working with them to ensure that the project proceeds on the revised schedule.”
Under the agreement, DoNo Hartford LLC has also committed to opening an office within the North Hartford Promise Zone to provide guidance, information and opportunity to Hartford residents and minority-owned business enterprise contractors to participate in the future development of the Downtown North Project.
Last month, representatives from stadium developer DoNo Hartford, LLC informed Hartford City officials and the Hartford Stadium Authority that the project was $10.3 million over budget and would not be ready for the previously scheduled Opening Day on April 7, 2016.
“The City Council understands the importance of completing the Stadium as soon as possible and wants to make sure this process is fair and transparent,” said Hartford City Council President T.J. Clarke. “The Council will work diligently to pursue a prudent course of action that protects the best interests of Hartford’s residents and taxpayers.”
The Mayor will hold a town hall next Monday to discuss the agreement with Hartford residents. The Town Hall will be held at 5 p.m., Monday, January 25, at the Hartford Public Library downtown, at 500 Main Street in the atrium.
(Jan 19, 2016) Today, Mayor Luke Bronin met with senior officials in the Obama Administration to discuss opportunities for partnership with the City of Hartford in key priority areas, including criminal justice reform and reentry, engaging disengaged youth, combatting homelessness, and the use of technology to improve municipal services. Mayor Bronin was part of a small group of newly-elected mayors invited to the White House to meet with senior officials including, among others, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President; Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama; and Shaun Donovan, Director of Office of Management.
“President Obama has made it a priority to partner with cities, and I welcomed the opportunity to discuss some of our key priorities with the President's top advisors,” Mayor Bronin said. “The President's commitment to reforming our criminal justice system, promoting second chances, combatting homelessness, and engaging disengaged young people will make a real difference in Hartford. I look forward to following up with our federal and state partners and complementing the President's efforts with concrete action at the local level here in Hartford."
Approximately ten mayors participated in this afternoon's meeting, including the mayors of Charleston, SC, Toledo, OH, Nashville, TN, and Flint, MI, among others.
In addition, Mayor Bronin met separately today with officials from the National League of Cities (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education, and Families; the Corporation for Community and National Service; and the Center for American Progress to further promote key priority areas for Hartford.
(Jan 11, 2016) Today, Mayor Luke Bronin announced that Cigna Corporation has committed to donating 35 laptops this week to replace the laptops that were stolen over the weekend from the Culinary Arts Academy at Weaver High School.
“I’m very grateful to Cigna for stepping up quickly and generously to support Hartford’s students,” Mayor Bronin said. “Digital skills are a critical component of 21st Century learning, and Cigna’s commitment today will allow for continuity of learning for our students with little disruption. I also want to commend our Hartford police officers who are working diligently to identify the suspects in this case.”
“Cigna is committed to the health and well-being of the communities in which we live and work. We know that health for children in the City of Harford often times starts with education,” said Cigna Executive Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer, Mark Boxer. “When we heard the concerning news that laptops were stolen from the Weaver Culinary School over the weekend, we knew we needed to help. Our first objective was to ensure continuity of learning ASAP. We convened our desktop support team here at Cigna to configure, prepare and ultimately donate 35 laptop computers so that students would have them before the end of the school week.”
"We are grateful to Cigna for being a committed community partner and neighbor for Hartford Public Schools and thank them for their generosity,” said Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez.
(Jan 7, 2016) Today, Mayor Luke Bronin announced that as one of his first actions as Mayor, he is joining Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a national, bipartisan coalition of mayors united in an effort to end gun violence and keep illegal guns off the streets. Earlier this week, President Obama issued a series of executive actions to address gun violence and save lives. Mayor Bronin applauds the President's leadership and actions and stands with him in the critical fight against gun violence.
“Today, I stand with mayors across the country in calling for common-sense policies to end the trafficking and possession of illegal guns on our streets,” Mayor Bronin said. “The effects of gun violence shatter families and neighborhoods. Last year, illegal guns were responsible for all gun deaths in our city. Enough is enough. President Obama rightfully took executive actions to curb gun violence, and I urge Congress to pass common-sense gun laws. As we continue to push hard for action nationally, we need to do everything we can at the city and state levels to combat gun violence and the illegal use and distribution of firearms in this region.”
In 2015, there were 26 firearm-related homicides in Hartford – all as a result of illegal guns. Mayor Bronin has heard from victims of gun violence and is committed to ending gun violence by focusing on community policing and neighborhood revitalization efforts. The Mayor has called for a Youth Service Corp to create jobs for young men and women to improve and enhance Hartford’s neighborhoods.
“As Mothers United Against Violence, we applaud the Mayor’s effort to reach out to other mayors to battle this great epidemic called gun violence in America,” said the Rev. Henry Brown, founder of the Hartford-based organization.
"Hartford moms know how important it is to have strong leaders who support common sense ideas that protect families,” said Susan Hanjian, Hartford Local Group Leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “When Moms Demand Action merged with Mayors Against Illegal Guns in 2014, we committed ourselves to working with law enforcement, faith leaders and survivors of gun violence to do whatever it takes to prevent gun violence. Today, we're proud that another important public servant has committed himself to this critically important issue and welcome Mayor Bronin to our coalition. We look forward to standing together and pursuing policies that will keep Hartford's citizens safe from gun violence."
Mayors Against Illegal Guns is a national coalition formed in 2006 by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. The bipartisan coalition of more than 1,000 current and former mayors unites mayors and survivors to promote common goals including, protecting communities by holding gun offenders accountable; demanding access to crime gun trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix weaknesses and loopholes in the background check system that make it far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get guns.
Upon joining the coalition, Mayor Bronin signed the following statement of principles:
Whereas: 30,000 Americans across the country are killed every year as a result of gun violence – including 12,000 who are murdered – destroying families and communities in big cities and small towns; and
Whereas: As Mayors, we are duty-bound to do everything in our power to protect our residents, especially our children, from harm, and there is no greater threat to public safety than the threat of illegal guns;
Now, therefore, we resolve to work together to find innovative new ways to advance the following principles:
· Punish to the maximum extent of the law criminals who possess, use, and traffic in illegal guns.
· Target and hold accountable irresponsible gun dealers who break the law by knowingly selling guns to straw purchasers.
· Extend background check requirements to all gun sales, including the private sales that take place online and at gun shows.
· Oppose all federal efforts to restrict cities’ right to access, use, and share trace data that is so essential to effective enforcement, or to interfere with the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to combat illegal gun trafficking.
· Work to develop and use technologies that aid in the detection and tracing of illegal guns.
· Support all local state and federal legislation that targets illegal guns; coordinate legislative, enforcement, and litigation strategies; and share information and best practices.
· Invite other cities to join us in this new national effort.