Alumni, Friends Urge Legislators
to Honor Stadium Commitment
January 31, 2000
UConn alumni, members of the UConn Club and University officials are asking the state legislature to honor the commitment it made last year to fund construction of a stadium for UConn football.
In conversations with legislators and through a grass roots effort sponsored by alumni and UConn Club members, supporters of the University's efforts to move the team into Division I-A are urging members of the General Assembly to reaffirm their support for the project during this year's legislative session.
Last year, legislators approved funding of up to $215 million to build a stadium in downtown Hartford. Now, as the result of Gov. John G. Rowland's decision to relocate the stadium to East Hartford, legislators must vote again. Specifically, legislators must approve amendments to authorize the new site and to acknowledge that the facility is an open-air stadium rather than a domed stadium in Hartford. The East Hartford stadium is expected to cost about $90 million - less than half the amount already approved.
The new location is on the site of the former Rentschler Field in East Hartford, on 75 acres of land donated to the state by United Technologies Corp.
"The stadium relocation to East Hartford will continue to serve the state's economic development objectives for the Hartford region by providing a special and exciting regional marketing attraction," Scott Brohinsky, director of University Communications, said last week.
"The legislature has approved funding three times for the construction of a new stadium so that UConn can move to Division I-A status and play in the Big East Football Conference," says Lew Perkins, director of athletics. "Even after the New England Patriots pulled out of Hartford, the General Assembly approved funding for a new stadium, specifically for UConn football."
Perkins said that, based on the legislative commitment to build a stadium, the University has taken certain steps:
Members of the grass roots organization, Friends of UConn Football, have left postcards on seats at UConn basketball games, mailed calls to action to past UConn supporters, and created a website - http://www.friendsofUCONNFOOTBALL.org - where people can ask questions, join the group and offer words of support.
The state Office of Policy and Management will have oversight of the stadium and is expected to hire MSG to manage it. MSG is a national arena management firm that presently runs the Hartford Civic Center, Madison Square Garden, and a host of other venues.