Youngstown puts feelers out for possible sale of fieldhouse

YOUNGSTOWN — The city is considering selling the long-closed South Fieldhouse and the little-used nearby football field.

“We get 15 to 20 inquiries a week for either potential development or individuals asking what we are doing with it, or nonprofits interested in it,” Dawn Turnage, the city’s parks and recreation director, said.

The city is having two open houses for those interested in the sports complex on Erie Street on the South Side. They are 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Oct. 20. A hard hat and a mask are required for entry into the fieldhouse.

After the walk-throughs and an appraisal are done, the city will decide whether to put the property up for sale, Turnage said.

“A decision to sell has yet to be determined,” she said. “I’d love to see it used as a community resource as a sporting complex. I can see potential for it. The field can be used for football or soccer.”

The city has tried to sell the property a number of times over the years with no success.

It had a $200,000 deal in place in January 2008 to sell the fieldhouse to Eagle Heights Academy, a charter school that operated out of the nearby former South High School on Market Street.

But the deal was never finalized, and Eagle Heights shut down after it received a rating of academic emergency for two straight years, in 2009 and 2010, from the Ohio Department of Education. Also in 2010, the Ohio auditor determined the school failed to pay $333,722 in federal income tax withholdings and $120,658 in Medicare withholdings.

In 2017, a group tried to raise money to rehabilitate the fieldhouse. The effort raised $234 online.

The fieldhouse has been closed for about a decade.

When it opened in December 1940, it was used for basketball games by Youngstown State University, then known as Youngstown College, and South High School, which closed in 1993. The fieldhouse also was used for several other activities and events.

The football field currently is used by Valley Christian School on Southern Boulevard for football practices and some games, Turnage said.

It was used by others for football years ago.

During an August 2006 peewee game, a 31-year-old man was shot to death in front of a crowd in the bleachers. The bleachers have since been demolished.

An appraisal of the property in 2017 estimated it would cost about $1.5 million to renovate the fieldhouse.

“Asbestos is an issue,” Turnage said. “But the floors and locker rooms are in decent condition. The indoor fieldhouse would cost a lot to fix up. The inside shell is in good shape, though there are cracks on the outer shell. It is not as bad as some would think from looking at the outside.”



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