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Media, Regional Chamber get preview of new arena



Published: Fri, August 12, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The arena's maximum crowd capacity is 7,345.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Construction at the Youngstown Convocation Center is about 80 percent done.

Jeff Kossow, the arena's executive director, gave tours Thursday to the local media and to those attending a Regional Chamber and Anthem mixer at the facility.

A key to the arena's success will be for it to get off to a good start, Kossow said.

"We'll have a myriad of events planned for the first 10 to 12 weeks, from family shows to concerts to hockey," he said.

Concrete for the center's ice hockey floor, poured about two weeks ago, is still drying, Kossow said. Arena officials plan to put ice on the concrete floor Sept. 26 by lowering the floor's temperature and spraying water on it, he said.

"We'll see what areas don't freeze and make adjustments," Kossow said.

Ice is going to be a major part of the arena, he said.

Besides being the home of the Youngstown SteelHounds minor league hockey team, the arena will also host "Disney on Ice" and extreme motorcycle ice racing.

Wrapping up

The arena's maximum crowd capacity is 7,345 for certain general admission shows, Kossow said. A concert will typically have seating for 6,000, he said.

Among the items that need to be finished at the arena include glass work and the installation of seats. The seats will arrive in Youngstown in mid-September, Kossow said.

The arena has 24 luxury boxes, and 17 of them are sold, he said.

The facility will provide the use of a community room, which can hold about 75 people, to nonprofit organizations.

An opening day for the facility should be announced next week, but it will be sometime in late October.

One or two events will be held at the facility before the SteelHounds play their home opener Nov. 4, Kossow said.

The arena expects to get its ticket system operational in the next few weeks, Kossow said. When that occurs, the arena will announce a number of events, he said.

The arena is expected to cost as much as $45.38 million, and the city may have to borrow as much as $12.1 million to make up a funding gap for the facility to be paid back over 20 years.

Arena management anticipates a profit in 2006 of more than $1.1 million.

skolnick@vindy.com




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