Youngstown comes to a naming rights deal with Raymond John Wean Foundation on riverfront park


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

City council is expected Wednesday to approve a $1,875,000, 15-year deal with the Raymond John Wean Foundation to name the riverfront park that includes the city’s new amphitheater after the organization.

And Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said there could be more sponsorship deals for the 22-acre facility.

“We may have some other ones sitting out there,” he said. “There are other possibilities.”

Brown declined to give details of proposals.

The Wean deal calls for the foundation to get naming rights to the park – to be called the Raymond John Wean Foundation Park – for $125,000 a year for 15 years. The park is supposed to open next month. The amphitheater opened in June.

This is the fourth major sponsorship deal for the facility with the biggest one being $3 million over 20 years from the Youngstown Foundation for the naming rights to the amphitheater. The others are $500,000 each over 10 years from Huntington Bank for naming rights to community alley under the Market Street Bridge and from Home Savings and Loan to sponsor a community events series.

The rest of the money to build the facility came from a $4 million loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be paid over a 20-year period starting in 2020.

JAC Management Group, which manages the amphitheater/park, and the city have negotiated for several months with the Raymond John Wean Foundation for the deal, Brown said.

City council will vote Wednesday on the proposal, which also needs the approval of the board of control, of which Brown is chairman.

The money would be used to maintain the park and pay the $40,000 annual salary for the community engagement and inclusion coordinator. JAC hired Derrick McDowell of Youngstown in May for that job.

The park is on property that included the former Wean United building. The building, which was one of downtown’s biggest eyesores for years, was demolished in 2014 and turned over to the city.

“We look forward to the Wean Park being filled with the diversity and vibrancy of residents for years to come,” said Jennifer Roller, the foundation’s president.

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