June 11, 2014

Ballpark 'an extravagant pipe dream' and not worth it?

Here's the scene: a minor league baseball team is eyeing a move to a nearby city, much to chagrin of its curent hometown, but to make it happen a new stadium is required. But the city where it hopes to move is financially troubled and some are opposed to the deal.
Hartford in 2014? Nope, New Britain in 1981.
Here's part of The Herald's editorial from Dec. 9, 1981:

Where did the New Britain Board of Finance and Taxation and Park and Recreation Commission members leave their sense of perspective? They approved a $2.5 million plan for improvements to Willow Brook Park although school buildings crumble and city workers try to provide vital services with patched-up equipment.
... Now finance officials want to put the city in debt to fix up Willow Brook Park on pure speculation that it may entice a minor league baseball, small college football or Olympic level track competitors to perform there. That is an extravagant pipe dream.
New Britain is in danger of losing taxpaying businesses, industries and residents because schools need repairs and old, broken-down equipment is causing city services to deterioriate.
The emphasis ought to be on real long-term spending priority needs of the city - not indulging the Park Board's too-frequent fantasies.

The Bristol Red Sox, a AA team, moved to New Britain less than a year later. The team ultimately became the Rock Cats.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

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