YOUNGSTOWN Arena board asks city for draft of contract

The board hopes to secure a management company for the project by August.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The contract is the thing.
Arena board members hoped to have a draft of a deal with the city by now. The group, however, is still waiting. So, the board approved a motion Thursday asking the city to provide the draft as soon as possible. The contract is to spell out the relationship between the city and the board, set up as a nonprofit development corporation.
Meanwhile, the board is seeking a lawyer to review the draft and handle final negotiations with the city.
The board is advertising its requests for proposals seeking legal help and insurance to cover its members. Its personnel and finance committees expect to deal with those topics in about two weeks, said vice chairman Robert VanSickle.
Budget approval: The board also approved a six-month budget that will go to the city for approval. The $100,000 budget was crafted largely so the board could provide the city a figure and start paying a lawyer.
Once the contract, legal and insurance issues are cleared, the board will move to finding a management company, VanSickle said. He hopes the board will accomplish that by August.
Such a time line would leave the anticipated $40 million-plus, 10,000-seat downtown project within the 2004 deadline to spend $26.8 million in federal funds secured so far, VanSickle said.
Concerns about site: Members hashed over environmental questions about the site city council has picked, between Market Street and South Avenue bridges.
VanSickle reminded them the topic is premature until the other administrative moves are accomplished first. Members agreed that the mayor and city council also have left the door open to changing the site if complications arise.

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