Feds approve Youngstown loan of $4 million for amphitheater

Published: Sat, October 21, 2017 @ 12:05 a.m.

By David Skolnick



The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approved the city’s request to borrow $4 million from its federal Community Development Block Grant funds for the proposed downtown amphitheater and riverfront park project.

In a letter to Mayor John A. McNally, Stanley Gimont, HUD’s deputy assistant secretary for grant programs, wrote the federal agency authorized the city’s application to use the money.

“It’s a key piece of funding that will help the project progress,” McNally said.

The loan must be repaid over 20 years with an interest rate of 2.59 percent, Gimont wrote.

In addition to the federal funds, the city also plans to spend $5 million from its water, wastewater and environmental sanitation funds, and raise $3 million to $4 million from naming rights and sponsorship deals for the project.

The city is working with JAC Management LLC, which will handle the amphitheater’s day-to-day operations, to negotiate with three or four companies on naming rights, McNally said. He declined to disclose the names of the businesses.

“I expect some announcements on naming rights in the next month or so,” McNally said. “Those negotiations have been going well. We’re confident it will be in the range of $3 million to $4 million, perhaps even higher, but we’re still working it out.”

The project is expected to be done in fall 2018, though the completion date is still “a work in progress,” McNally said.

The amphitheater and park will be built along the Mahoning River from the South Avenue Bridge to just west of Hazel Street at the former Wean United Building. The 3,250-seat amphitheater will be on property that includes the former Wean site on South Phelps Street.

About 95 percent of the design work is finished. The law department is finalizing the purchase of a small piece of railroad land that is needed for project, McNally said.

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