Let's practice before we pour concrete, promoter urges.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A local concert promoter has suggested conducting summer outdoor concerts next year between the South Avenue and Market Street bridges as a way of testing that site as a potential location for a proposed civic center.
Bob Crosby of Warren, promoter of recent concerts at Cafaro Field, made the suggestion at Thursday's board meeting of the Youngstown Civic Center Development Corp. -- the first board meeting in the corporation's new office on the second floor of the city-owned Wick Building.
"Could we not do large outdoor land festivals next summer on the site to put it on the map -- to create revenues to the site that maybe could offset the landscaping expenses?," Crosby asked the board.
"Let's make use of the land. Let's determine where the roadway should be, where power should be in a temporary scaffolding environment, and then, once we determine the best location, then start pouring cement," he advised the board. "Let's practice a little before we pour cement. Work out all the bugs. See what we're up against. See what it is that we need to work on," he urged.
Response: "That's a very creative idea," replied Leonard Schiavone, board chairman.
"It's a great idea for the land between the bridges, and we could put the convocation center someplace else," said board member Paul Lyden, drawing laughs from other board members.
City council has already unanimously declared its preference for building the arena between the South Avenue and Market Street bridges.
"I don't know if I'm really coming from left field. There seemed to be enough land that maybe it could house an outdoor amphitheater," Crosby said.
Ideas: If the arena construction site and schedule would permit outdoor concerts to occur there, the events would be a means of determining the best ways to provide access and identifying traffic patterns and patrons' habits and preferences, he said.
If there's enough room and demand, Crosby said a permanent outdoor amphitheater could be located next to the indoor arena.
"I feel that the market here has been very responsive to concerts at Cafaro Field. Will they be responsive down here? I think the right talent and the right promoter and the right environment could make it very attractive and appealing to the community to come downtown," Crosby said.
Crosby said it would be premature for him to estimate the cost to prepare the site for outdoor concerts or to address whether the arena board would be asked to contribute money toward the outdoor concerts.
Crosby said he wasn't sure if concert costs would be paid by the board, private industry or other sponsors. Talent and other expenses could be defrayed if a concert is designated as a benefit event for a particular cause, he said. "I feel that there's some potential here and that all these avenues should be researched if there's an interest,'' he said.
Applications: Robert Van Sickle, board vice chairman, said the board has received five applications to become the project director overseeing arena planning and construction. The application deadline is Sept. 15. The project director would be an independent contractor working in the arena board office, he said.
The board went into executive session to discuss the proposed contract between the board and the city. The closed-door session included a telephone conference with one of the board's Cleveland lawyers.