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ARENA Board again submits contract



Published: Fri, November 2, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Council's finance committee has already rejected the proposal.

By ROGER G. SMITH

CITY HALL REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- With negotiations absent the past week, the civic center board is resubmitting its proposed contract to the city.

The board also wants two project management consultants to start work the moment a contract is reached with the city.

Civic center board members voted 8-0 Thursday after a 40-minute closed session to resubmit their first contract proposal to the city. That contract would give the board all control over developing a downtown arena.

Events: Last week, city council's finance committee -- with six of seven councilmen in support -- rejected that proposal.

Instead, council members countered with a contract proposal of their own. That document said the civic center board would be an advisory panel. The board would carry out the project but the city would have final say over all spending, officials said.

Civic center board members rejected that deal 6-3.

The first proposal reflects what civic center board members understood their role to be when council created the agency last year, said Chairman Leonard Schiavone.

"The board action speaks for itself," he said.

Both sides called for quick negotiations that were to continue this week once the two sides traded their original proposals.

Nothing happened, however. The arena board didn't hear back from city council, said Vice Chairman Robert VanSickle.

Getting started: Board members also agreed to start pushing the project despite lack of a contract.

The board will ask two project management companies to be ready to work once a contract is reached.

"The ball has to keep rolling," said member Paul Lyden.

Compass Facility Management Inc. of Ames, Iowa, and the Gateway Group of Cleveland, already have worked up a list of services each would provide. They are proposing a $5,000 per month fee for each.

The board voted to negotiate a more specific list of services that the companies would provide over 90 days. Services would include feasibility and financial projections.

"I want hard numbers," said member Gil Peterson.

Jay Williams, director of the city Community Development Agency, asked arena board members to consider how other city officials will perceive the move. A city-arena board contract is considered a necessity before the project advances.

Bold move: Councilman John R. Swierz, D-7th, who attended the meeting, called the vote a bold move. He said he isn't sure if city council will receive the board's move positively or not.

The consultants know money won't be available to pay them until a contract is reached and they certainly won't work for free, Schiavone said. The purpose is to have the consultants ready to work when the contract is reached, not to antagonize the city, he said.

"It's not meant to offend," Schiavone said.

rgsmith@vindy.com




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