|TRAFICANT, James A., Jr.,|
March 2, 1998
Youngstown, Ohio – U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant, Jr. (D–OH) will meet tonight with the Niles community to explain the details of a deal he worked out this weekend to bring minor league baseball to the Mahoning Valley. Traficant will speak tonight to the Partnership for a Greater Niles at 6:30 p.m. at Mollica's Banquet Center on Main Street in Niles. He will be accompanied by Sam Moffie of Cambridge Investment Group of Beachwood, Ohio -- one of the investors in the project.
Last night, after a marathon session of weekend negotiations between Traficant, Niles city officials, private investors and the team owner, a deal was reached to construct a $7.5 million recreational facility in the Niles-Howland area. Construction of the facility will be financed by Cambridge Investment Group and the city of Niles. The deal remains tentative pending ratification by the Niles City Council and the successful negotiation of a long term lease. The facility will be the new home of the Class A Erie (PA) SeaWolves. Erie is to get a Class AA team. The SeaWolves play in the New York-Penn League, and are owned by Palisades Baseball, Ltd.
Under the deal worked out by Traficant, Cambridge Investment Group will contribute $4.5 million toward construction of the facility, and be the majority owner. The city of Niles will contribute $2 million in bond financing and $1 million in in-kind services. The city will be a minority owner. Any other public monies contributed to the project will go toward a contingency fund.
The Cafaro Corporation will donate the land for the facility, which will be located near Eastwood Mall. The deal requires Howland Township to agree to have the city of Niles annex several acres of property. Howland Township will not contribute any funds, and will not be a co-owner of the facility. In addition to minor league baseball, other uses for the facility could include Youngstown State University baseball games, local high school playoff baseball games, concerts and fairs.
Traficant emphasized today that, as the facilitator of the negotiations, he worked to ensure that the deal includes safeguards to protect Niles and the investors. He will explain those safeguards tonight. Construction of the facility must begin by this summer so that it is ready for the start of the New York-Penn League's 1999 season.2009