Council Delay on JAC Doesn’t Worry Officials

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Officials with the city administration say they are satisfied with progress related to the riverfront park and amphitheater project, despite City Council holding off on contracts to manager amphitheater operations and concessions.

At its meeting Wednesday night, council members approved a resolution in support of the city’s application for a $4 million Section 108 loan to help pay for development of the project.

They moved into committee two pieces of legislation that would add overall management and concessions management of the amphitheater to JAC Management Group’s responsibilities. JAC handles those responsibilities for the Covelli Centre, which is adjacent to the amphitheater/park site.

City Council created a fund of up to $12 million for the project. The administration has estimated the project will cost about $9 million.

Youngstown Finance Director David Bozanich said the administration was aware council members wanted additional information and will go over the contract in detail at a special meeting of Council’s finance committee in the next few weeks. At the meeting, members will get the information they need to make any changes they deem necessary.

“It was just a matter of council, rightfully so, seeking out additional information so they had a comfort level. It was not a situation where we felt there was a lot of disagreement,” he said.

The city is looking at a late summer 2018 completion for the project, although Bozanich acknowledged it could be finished sooner.

Mayor John McNally, whose term ends Dec. 31, said he is satisfied with how the project is advancing. Council members are “very comfortable with JAC,” based on comments he heard following the meeting, he said yesterday. “It’s just a matter of sitting down with them as a group” and seeing if they have any “major issues” with the contracts, he said.

One of the likely changes might involve the hiring of a community liaison to help promote “grassroots-type” events at the amphitheater, McNally said. “They want to make sure that the amphitheater can be used by the public more than the Covelli Centre actually is sometimes,” he said.

Utilities, security, staffing and other costs make using the Covelli Centre cost prohibitive for some events.

“From JAC’s point of view, you can’t put on events that lose money,” the mayor said.

Within the next 30 days, the administration expects to present council members with a final design schematic, Bozanich said.

“We’ve been having bi-weekly design meetings,” he reported. How soon the physical work begins will be a function of how quickly the legislative process moves, he said.

McNally said he expects bids to be let by the end of summer for relocation of an 84-inch sewer line on the property, with work ideally getting underway this year.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.