Anti-Rock Cats movement in Hartford

Protest over stadium plans for the Rock Cats in Hartford, July 21, 2014.

Hartford, Conn. (WTNH) – From the streets of Hartford to the steps of City Hall, people protested chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, the stadium has got to go” Monday as outrage over the Rock Cats stadium plan continues to grows.

“We felt this was being forced down our throats and that our input was not valuable in any way,” said Anne Goshdigian of the Hartford Coalition to Stop the stadium.

“They did it in secret,” said Cornell Lewis. “They claimed they didn’t have any money in the black and Latino community that needed fixing up, but they found 60 million dollars to build a stadium.”

At Monday’s city council public hearing the Rock Cats stadium wasn’t on the agenda. However, there was a resolution to buy two acres of vacant land that, according to City Council Minority Leader Larry Deutsch, would be used to build the stadium. The resolution is proposed by Mayor Pedro Segarra, but he wasn’t at the hearing to hear the continued cries of anger from people of Hartford.

“The mayor and those who said it was a done deal are not here tonight, are you noticing that,” said Deutsch.

Some think that the absence of several council members and Mayor Segarra during a public hearing on the land purchase is another strategy sneakily move forward with the stadium.

“It strikes me that this might be strategy of the city to one piece at a time keep the purchases below two million dollars,” Daniel Piper of Hartford said, “because you know if it’s over two, it would have to go for referendum and you will lose.”

(WTNH AJ Walker)
(WTNH AJ Walker)

During a rally protesting the stadium people held signs and verbally expressed ideas like spending the money that would have been used on the Rock Cats on things like education or supermarkets.

However, there was one person out of many who still wants the Rock Cats to move to Hartford.

“I think it’s a good thing and I’m all excited,” said Raquel Calderone, “because we can even have little league, we can teach them how to play baseball.”

Mayor Segarra said new proposals for the Rock Cats Stadium are due by August 1 and a resolution will be submitted by August 11. People in Hartford said this isn’t enough time given there is still so much public opposition.

In a statement, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said:

“This is about the redevelopment of the entire Downtown North area, creating jobs for our residents and replacing a sea of parking lots with a thriving, vibrant neighborhood. The Ballpark has attracted significant economic interest that has not existed until now. We welcome public input, it’s an important part of the process.”

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