The aim is to preserve the area's rich sports history, backers say.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A downtown businessman has visions of turning another vacant building into a sports museum and sports center.
Jeff Kurz, one of the owners of Imbibe, a martini bar that opened in July in the former First Federal Building, presented a proposal Tuesday to members of the Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corp.'s property committee.
Kurz, also a co-founder of the Youngstown Arts and Entertainment District Association, pitched the idea of turning the former Kress building into a Mahoning Valley Sports Museum and Sports Center.
Reid Dulberger, CIC interim executive director, said another party also is interested in the Kress building so the committee can't endorse Kurz's plan for the building.
But committee members said they like and support the idea.
Kurz said one of the aims would be to preserve the area's sports legacy, particularly those of high schools that have closed in recent years.
Committee of backers
He said he's formed a steering committee including sports figures, media representatives and business leaders who back the idea.
One of those members is former state Sen. Harry Meshel.
He said that the Mahoning Valley has demonstrated pride in the caliber of its sports teams and figures and that he thinks that should continue.
The former state senator also said a fund-raising campaign is planned.
Kurz's plan includes a sports center with food and drink, video of sports events, gallery spaces to house local sports history and memorabilia on the second and third levels, a screening room to view classic sports video in the mezzanine with offices and a public entrance to the center at street level.
Kurz said that the sports center would help defray the costs of operating the museum. He estimated costs for the project at about $2.5 million.