|TRAFICANT, James A., Jr.,|
February 25, 1998
Washington, D.C. – U. S. Rep. James A. Traficant, Jr. (D–OH) today sent the City of Niles, Howland Township and Trumbull County a package of documents that would commit the governments to participating in the construction of a multi-use community recreational facility in the Niles-Howland area. The documents, which include a cooperative agreement and addenda specifying the contributions of each party, must be signed by this Saturday. The proposed facility would be the new home to the Erie (PA) Seawolves, a class "A" minor league team that plays in the New York-Penn League. Other possible uses for the facility include Youngstown State University baseball games, high school baseball play-off games, concerts, shows and exhibits. For the past year, Traficant has been working with the team owner and local officials to put together a viable financial package.
Under the latest plan developed by Traficant, the City of Niles and Howland Township would own and operate the facility through the establishment of a Joint Recreation Board. Niles would contribute a total of $5 million for construction ($1 million in cash and $4 million in bond financing). Niles will pay off the $4 million in bonds with revenue generated from parking, ticket fees and other non-baseball events. Howland Township's projected contribution is $500,000. Howland Township would be a 20 percent owner of the facility. Howland Township is also being asked to agree to have Niles annex several acres of land owned by the township. Traficant is exploring the possibility of Howland Township issuing bonds to finance its participation in the project.
Traficant emphasized today that the commitments made by the parties are contingent upon reaching mutually acceptable agreements on a long-term lease, inter-governmental partnership and, in the case of Howland Township, securing the necessary financing.
Trumbull County will contribute $375,000 toward construction. The owner of the team, Palisades Baseball, Ltd., will contribute $250,000 up front, and sign a 20-year lease agreement with Niles and Howland Township. The Seawolves need to move from Erie into their new home by June of 1999. Erie is getting a class "AA" minor league baseball team.
Traficant also announced today that he has been informed by YSU President Leslie Cochran that he will recommend to YSU's Board of Trustees that they approve a proposal to agree to have YSU lease the facility for YSU baseball and other YSU-related events. The trustees are meeting later this week. "My meeting last week with Dr. Cochran and Dr. George Beelen was very positive," said Traficant. "Dr. Cochran is totally committed to making YSU a regional institution. YSU's participation in this project is an important part of his vision. I certainly hope that YSU's trustees will vote to approve the proposal," added Traficant.
Traficant is reserving space this weekend at the Avalon Inn in Howland Township to facilitate continuous negotiations between the parties in the event that the local governments sign the commitment documents.2009