Critics Pan Cost, Secrecy of Proposed Rock Cats Move

Many people spoke at the Hartford City Council meeting on Monday night to express their discontent with the city's proposal to move the New Britain Rock Cats baseball team to Hartford in a plan that would include a bond of up to $60 million to pay for a brand new stadium.

"If the Rock Cats want to move to Hartford, they have a millionaire that owns the team. Let them build it," Hartford resident Hyacinth Yennie said.

"That we would invest $60 million into a minor league franchise we could buy for 1/6th of that shocks the conscience," resident Ken Krayeske, of Hartford, said.

Many more people spoke against the move than for it during the public comment period, but those in support say it's a much-needed asset to the downtown area.

Rory Gale, who owns Hartford Prints on Pratt Street, said it's a chance to bring more opportunity and foot traffic.

"Creating more retail, more jobs, and connecting our city in bigger ways and also making it an attraction," said Gale.

Many people said they were upset that the city and the Rock Cats were in talks for a year and a half and the public was left in the dark.

"How do you hold 18 months of meetings and consider that transparency for the Hartford community?" Evelyn Richardson asked and her question was met with applause by other residents.

"It is a transparent process moving forward now that this is in the council chamber," said Hartford Council President Shawn Wooden.

Wooden added that there's still a lot that needs to be looked at before any decision is made, but some have already made up their mind, calling it a waste of money.

"We need to focus on education," Krayeske said. "Dollar for dollar education brings more economic development than pro sports."

Following the public comment period, Mayor Pedro Segarra released a response saying, "We have understood from the beginning that this project would require public discussion, participation and dialogue. Just like tonight, there will be many opportunities to learn more about how this revitalization will be an asset to the community for years to come.”

A public hearing further discussing the move is set for July 21.

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