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YOUNGSTOWN Arena board wants meeting



Published: Fri, May 11, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Arena board members have plenty to say to Youngstown City Council members.

By ROGER G. SMITH

CITY HALL REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- City council promised the arena board an audience before picking a site. Board members still want to take them up on that unfulfilled offer.

Board members said Thursday they want to express their opinions on the site to council even though lawmakers have already announced their pick, which they will reaffirm next week.

"I still would like that to carry though," said Leonard Schiavone, the board chairman.

Board members want a meeting with council before Wednesday. That's the night council is planning to vote on a resolution selecting the site between the Market Street and South Avenue bridges. Council, however, has left room to change its decision if circumstances warrant.

The Rev. Kelvin Turner, one of council's appointees to the board, said he isn't against the bridges site. The two sides, however, need dialogue in the partnership, he said.

"If you say you're going to listen to me ... at least listen," Turner said.

Messages: A sample of what other arena board members want to tell council:

UThe selection process needs to include those who will be tenants of the building, Schiavone said.

UCouncil members need to do a better job communicating than they have so far, said the Rev. Edward P. Noga.

UUses for the building must be decided before picking a site, said William Binning.

UA true feasibility study, not the reports in hand now, must be done before picking a site, said Gil Peterson.

The Rev. Gary Frost said he supports the bridges site, though not necessarily the process.

He won't be around much longer, however, to see the project progress. The Rev. Mr. Frost, pastor of Rising Star Baptist Church, is relocating soon to Atlanta to take a top post with the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission. His comments came in his resignation letter to Mayor George M. McKelvey, who appointed him to the board. He leaves the board June 16.

Tapping funds: Also Thursday, the board talked with Jay Williams, director of the city Community Development Agency. Williams explained how the board will go about tapping into project funds to buy insurance and pay a lawyer. The board voted to advertise seeking proposals on both topics.

A draft of a contract between the city and arena board that outlines the duties of both should be ready in a few days, Williams said. Final negotiations will wait until the board hires its own lawyer.

rgsmith@vindy.com




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