New Arena in Downtown Akron?

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Steve_424

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For years, the main questions about a potential Akron arena were: Should it go on the University of Akron campus or downtown, and how would it be funded?
Those questions were answered Tuesday, with the announcement of a tightly guarded plan for a $76 million project in downtown Akron to be paid for by a county sales tax hike.

The announcement, though greeted with excitement by the parties involved, raised more questions — chief among them whether voters will support a 0.25 percent sales tax increase to fund the arena and other county expenses that will be put on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Summit County Executive Russ Pry, who points out that the bulk of the tax money would go to county safety expenses, said an aggressive campaign will be launched to explain the need.

“Hopefully, the people in this community will see the benefit,” he said.

The arena would be home to UA’s men’s and women’s basketball teams and would host other events. UA would continue using the aging, 5,300-seat James A. Rhodes Arena on campus, where the basketball team currently plays, with plans down the road for updates.

“We’ll take another big jump because of a better facility,” said UA basketball Coach Keith Dambrot, who thinks newer facilities help in recruitment. “This is a huge deal for us.”

The arena, which would have 8,500 seats, would be a joint venture of the city, Summit County, the University of Akron and the Development Finance Authority of Summit County (DFA).

UA and the city would supply the land, the county would provide the funding and own the arena, and DFA would operate the arena and issue the bonds. DFA was formerly known as the Summit County Port Authority.

UA took the first step in the process Tuesday when its Board of Trustees approved an initial agreement for the project. The university and the other parties still need to reach a more detailed agreement.

“It is a win-win for all of the parties,” said Trustee Roland Bauer, who was in the group that put together the arena plan.
Bauer said construction of the arena would likely take three years.

The arena would be built in the spot the city has long hoped for — across from the Canal Park baseball stadium downtown, bordered by Main, High and Spring streets. The land in the two-block area is owned by the city, UA, and several private entities. The initial agreement says the city will “use its full legal authority to commence and pursue any appropriations proceedings necessary to acquire the necessary parcels for the site” and will pay for this at “its sole cost and expense.”

UA would be financially responsible if the arena lost money “up to a maximum annual amount” that still needs to be set. The university also would receive the profit if the arena made money.

Other details in the initial plan approved by UA include:
• The arena would have 8,500 seats and the capacity for 500 more portable seats. It would not contain or provide the infrastructure for a permanent ice rink.
• The county would lease the completed arena to the DFA for 20 years.
• The DFA could hire a third party to operate the arena, subject to the approval of UA and the county. The DFA would develop an annual operating budget that UA and the county would need to approve.
• The county, UA and the DFA would agree on charges for tickets, admissions, parking and leasing of suites.
• The DFA would coordinate the use of the arena, with UA being the primary user and having “the right to approve the scheduling of other users.” DFA and UA would market and sell naming rights to the arena.
• Through the sales tax increase, the county would provide $7 million a year for 23 years for the construction of the arena, the debt service, a reserve for capital improvements, and an operating reserve.

Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic praised the arena plans in a written statement Tuesday and said a downtown arena would provide jobs through its construction and operation and would further the revitalization of downtown and UA.

Chris Burnham, DFA’s president, said plans for the arena gained momentum after he made a trip to Omaha, Neb., along with other Akron leaders. The trip included a tour of the city’s combined arena/convention center, which provides the venue for Creighton University’s basketball team, and is downtown rather than on campus.

“It was a nice model,” Burnham said. “I and others thought, ‘Maybe we could replicate this.’ ”

A group of city, county, UA and DFA officials began meeting in December to talk in earnest about moving forward with an arena. FirstEnergy Corp. paid Gateway Group in Cleveland in March to update an arena study the group did in 2008-2009 that was put on hold because of the economic downturn.

The updated Gateway study concluded that an arena could be built in downtown Akron for $76.8 million. With about 67 events a year, the study found the arena could make a profit, ranging from about $31,000 in the first year to nearly $300,000 in the fifth year. The study said the arena could host 17 men’s basketball games, five women’s basketball games and 45 other events a year, possibly including large and small concerts, rodeos, monster trucks, professional wrestling, the Harlem Globetrotters, high school sports, banquets and meetings.

The plan came as welcome news for UA basketball coaches and players, who have been clamoring for improvements to Rhodes Arena or a new arena.
“Students will want to come and see a new arena,” predicted Jake Kretzer, a wing on UA’s basketball team.

Garrett Dowd, a UA student trustee, agreed that students, who sit in the upper rafters at Rhodes Arena, will be pleased.
“Students will be excited about a new facility that has more energy,” he said.
 

AZ_

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sell the stadiums
 

Kouki

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Hasn't the new football stadium - InfoCision stadium - kind of been a disaster?

I went to the opening game at that stadium and it was packed, probably sold out the 27k seats

But I'm pretty sure attendence has been awful since then...

Edit, would be pretty neat if they moved the Charge to Akron, would probably help their attendence.

I bet LeBron would like that too... :runs: (not the Charge coming to Akron, but just a new basketball arena in Akron)
 
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-Akronite-

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Cool, but also ugh... I mean, Akron isn't that big of a school but it's really shitty to think we should raise taxes for an athletic department while our schools struggle to keep arts and language programs.
 

Steve_424

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Hasn't the new football stadium - InfoCision stadium - kind of been a disaster?

I went to the opening game at that stadium and it was packed, probably sold out the 27k seats

But I'm pretty sure attendence has been awful since then...

Edit, would be pretty neat if they moved the Charge to Akron, would probably help their attendence.

I bet LeBron would like that too... :runs: (not the Charge coming to Akron, but just a new basketball arena in Akron)

Attendance has been awful, but so has the team. Basketball is a winning program. If football starts winning like basketball does (contending every year) you'll see Info packed again.
 

Steve_424

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Cool, but also ugh... I mean, Akron isn't that big of a school but it's really shitty to think we should raise taxes for an athletic department while our schools struggle to keep arts and language programs.

The schools are getting plenty of money IMO...it's the management of that money that's the issue.
 

Mac

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This is Akron's play to get out of the MAC conference, which would be interesting...

Not sure what shows they could attract, but Youngstown does a good job of getting events to their downtown arena. Not sure if it would be anything Id want to see.

In this case, I am not going to pay more to vote for something like this. I dont think this has a prayer of passing.
 

Steve_424

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I'd vote for it as I think it would do a lot for the city of Akron, but I don't expect it to pass. It'll be interesting to see the next step assuming it doesn't. I'm sure there's a Plan B.
 

Mac

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Yeah, most certainly there is. They would get a hell of a deal to get this to pass.

I would be more inclined to vote for it if they were already accepted into a larger conference. I am not going to see Akron play the MAC, regardless of where they play. Outside of Ohio and Kent (for the most part), it just such a God awful basketball conference to watch. I would also be interested in seeing the Charge move into the arena.

But there is no way they can promise events down there, I would like to assume they could get some stuff down there but I just can't see it. Youngstown works because it pulls the Mahoning Valley area as there isn't any other option unless you go to Pittsburgh. Here, there are so many competing venues, I see it being very difficult to pull events in.
 

Pick6

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Hasn't the new football stadium - InfoCision stadium - kind of been a disaster?

I went to the opening game at that stadium and it was packed, probably sold out the 27k seats

But I'm pretty sure attendence has been awful since then...

Edit, would be pretty neat if they moved the Charge to Akron, would probably help their attendence.

I bet LeBron would like that too... :runs: (not the Charge coming to Akron, but just a new basketball arena in Akron)

The Info has been a disaster because the team has sucked since the stadium opening.

The times though, they are a changin'.
 

Pick6

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Cool, but also ugh... I mean, Akron isn't that big of a school but it's really shitty to think we should raise taxes for an athletic department while our schools struggle to keep arts and language programs.
Getting rid of the Arts and Language programs is doing a huge favor for the naive students who believe they can be anything they want. It'll save a number of students from going tens of thousands of dollars in debt only to get a job at Aeropostale upon graduation, therefore I am a fan of the cuts.
 

-Akronite-

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Getting rid of the Arts and Language programs is doing a huge favor for the naive students who believe they can be anything they want. It'll save a number of students from going tens of thousands of dollars in debt only to get a job at Aeropostale upon graduation, therefore I am a fan of the cuts.

While I'll assume this is sarcasm, it really is a shame because if you look at countries that are excelling in education (like Finland), there are far more options for creativity. Music especially tends to help kids become better at math.
 

Pick6

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While I'll assume this is sarcasm, it really is a shame because if you look at countries that are excelling in education (like Finland), there are far more options for creativity. Music especially tends to help kids become better at math.
Not sarcasm at all. I'm for arts and whatever in high school to build a well rounded student. I'm not in favor of it in college per prior post.
 
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