Youngstown council OKs management deals for Covelli, amphitheater

By David Skolnick


By a 5-2 vote, city council approved contract extensions with JAC Management LLC to handle the day-to-day operations and food-and-beverage sales at the Covelli Centre and to do the same at the proposed downtown amphitheater.

Council members Nate Pinkard, D-3rd, and Anita Davis, D-6th, who last week questioned the urgency to approve the deals now, were the two no votes at Thursday’s meeting.

Both repeated those concerns when voting against the legislation.

“Why do we have to rush this?” Pinkard said.

JAC’s contract to manage the city-owned Covelli Centre expires Dec. 31, 2018, and the amphitheater project won’t be finished until the latter half of next year.

The new proposals to manage both facilities and handle food and beverages would start Jan. 1, 2018, and run through Dec. 31, 2022.

But Finance Director David Bozanich and Mayor John A. McNally said the city needs to have contracts in place now for the amphitheater in order to get naming rights and sponsorship deals, worth an estimated $3 million to $4 million over 10 years, done.

Both declined to disclose the names of businesses with whom they’ve discussed possible deals for amphitheater sponsorship.

The board of control – which consists of McNally, Bozanich and Law Director Martin Hume – has to wait at least 30 days from Thursday to finalize the agreements with JAC.

But McNally said companies now know a deal will be done and will be willing to sign off on sponsorship and naming-rights contracts with the city.

The management contract for the Covelli Centre now pays JAC a $99,200 management fee that would be increased to $106,000 annually. Also, JAC would receive $12,000 a year to manage the amphitheater.

The deal also calls for the company to continue to receive a 15-percent bonus at the center and amphitheater for operating surpluses that exceed $100,000 annually. JAC made a $50,277 bonus last year.

The other deal is for JAC to handle food-and-beverage sales at the amphitheater and continue to do so at the center from Jan. 1, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2022.

JAC makes between 3 percent and 6 percent of concession sales depending on how much is sold.

In another matter, council approved a contract with its 80-member water employee union that expires April 30, 2020.

The contract calls for no pay increase until January 2019 when workers will get a 1-percent raise.

Union members, who voted Tuesday 33-1 in favor of the deal, will also get a $600 bonus payment in December of this year.

Council also authorized the board of control to seek proposals and spend up to $525,000 in water-fund money to install a new irrigation system to replace the 79-year-old one at its Henry Stambaugh Municipal Golf on the North Side.

The new system would be automated allowing the city to set a timer and water the entire course at the same time.

The current watering system has park employees hooking up about 12 sprinkler heads at a time, which has been time-consuming, said Robert Burke, park and recreation director.

About 109 million gallons of water has been lost at the nine-hole course’s irrigation system since 2005 through breaks and leaks, according to city officials.

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