Study on improving efficiency at Covelli nears completion

By David Skolnick


An operational assessment of the Covelli Centre to help the city determine if it wants to lease or sell the facility should be done in another month, Mayor Charles Sammarone said.

The study by PA Sports and Entertainment will include recommendations on ways to improve the efficiency of the city-owned facility.

The city is paying the company $10,000 a month up to $50,000 for the report.

PA started the report in early September.

Once the report is done, Sammarone said, city officials will decide on the next step.

“Hopefully, someone buys it,” he said. “If not, someone will lease it. I’m pretty sure on leasing. Selling could be a problem.”

That’s because as a city-owned facility, it is tax-exempt. That status would likely be lost if a company purchased it.

Because of the uncertainty of the center’s future, the city opted to sign a one-year contract with Covelli Enterprises to retain naming rights to the facility.

The board of control approved the $175,000 contract Thursday, retroactive to May 1, when Covelli Enterprises’ original three-year deal expired.

The contract increases the annual fee from $120,000.

The city received an increase because we “have more events so people were willing to look at it in a different light,” said city Finance Director David Bozanich.

A provision in the contract extension would terminate the naming rights for the facility with Covelli being reimbursed the pro-rated amount of the deal should a sale or lease occur.

The city will get the $175,000 in a few days as the contract calls for all of it upon signing the deal.

Bruce Zoldan, who owns B.J. Alan Co. fireworks and a junior hockey league team that plays home games at Covelli, said he and a group of investors are interested in talking to city officials about a lease.

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