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CONVOCATION CENTER Officials call off plans to see arena until fall



Published: Wed, August 10, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Tennessee group expects to come when the facility is operational.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Officials from Lebanon, Tenn., a city considering building an arena, canceled a planned Thursday visit to see the Youngstown Convocation Center.

Among the reasons given are scheduling conflicts and a county fair.

The group is expected to come to Youngstown in late October or November when the facility is up and running, according Lebanon Mayor Don Fox.

"There were several people who said they wanted to go, but timing wasn't good," he said in a statement. "With school just starting and the [Wilson County] Fair coming up next week, it was difficult for most people to" make the trip.

By waiting until the Youngstown facility opens, officials in Lebanon and Wilson County, where the city is located, can see the arena in its full operation, Fox said.

Also, key officials with Global Entertainment Corp., the Phoenix-based company managing and promoting the Youngstown arena that wants to do the same for a facility in Lebanon, couldn't attend because of a last-minute scheduling conflict.

The Lebanon group was going to meet with Youngstown city officials during their stay in the Mahoning Valley.

Global approached Lebanon officials several months ago about constructing an arena that the company would manage and promote.

The biggest question asked by Wilson County officials was about funding, according to The Lebanon Democrat newspaper. That question still hasn't been answered.

Two events

While Tennessee officials won't be touring the arena site Thursday, the Regional Chamber and Anthem are sponsoring a tour and mixer that day at the facility.

The tour will begin at 4:30 p.m., and the mixer starts an hour later.

Attending the mixer will be Jean Laforest, head coach and director of hockey operations for the Youngstown SteelHounds, the Central Hockey League team that will be the arena's main tenant.

Those attending the tour must wear hard-soled, closed shoes.

The event is $15 for members and $20 for prospective members. For more information about the tour and mixer, call Jennifer Mascardine at the chamber at (330) 744-2131, extension 12, or go to www.regionalchamber.com.

The arena should be finished by late October with a major performer expected to sing at the facility's opening night.

skolnick@vindy.com




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