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Sports museum/bar needs more time



Published: Tue, October 24, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The association plans to sell naming rights to fund the proposed sports museum.

By DON SHILLING

VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR

YOUNGSTOWN -- An entertainment organization needs more time before it can act on plans to turn a vacant downtown building into a sports museum and bar.

Fundraising for the project is taking longer than expected, Jeff Kurz, a lawyer for the Youngstown Arts and Entertainment District Association, told a downtown redevelopment agency Tuesday.

Kurz asked the property committee of the Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corp. for an extension of the association's 90-day exclusivity period to take over the former Kress Building on West Federal Street, between Phelps and Hazel streets. The entertainment group's last extension will expire Oct. 31.

Committee members said that they wanted to see the art group's architectural and fund-raising plans before granting another extension. They said they doubted there would be another proposal for the building before their November meeting.

Kurz said he would provide the requested material before that meeting. Architectural drawings have been completed, he said.

Better financial information

Kurz, who is co-owner of the Imbibe martini bar downtown, said the entertainment group will have better financial information in January. It plans to sell naming rights to various rooms in the museum, but people who are interested say they can't make any donations until early next year, he said.

Once the naming rights campaign is complete, the group's board will decide how to raise the rest of the money that's needed, he said. An official estimated earlier this year that the total cost would be between 2.5 million and 3 million.

The museum is designed to preserve the area's sports legacy, particularly for high schools that no longer exist. The first two floors of the three-story building would house the museum, and the basement would be a sports bar.

Technology center

In other matters, the CIC committee heard an update on the Youngstown Technology Center, which is an expansion of the Youngstown Business Incubator on West Federal Street. Five downtown buildings are to be demolished to clear the way for the construction of the 30,000-square-foot building.

The committee was told that two of the buildings have been removed and a third is nearly demolished. Remediation of hazardous materials in the fourth building is ongoing.

The contractor, Dave Sugar Excavating, intends to have the work completed between Nov. 16 and 20, which would be about two weeks ahead of schedule.

shilling@vindy.com




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