City not ready to give successful Youngstown concert manager more control

FILE - Carrie Underwood at the Covelli Centre on March 17, 2016

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – City council is not ready to extend the contract of the management group that’s brought some big names to Youngstown.

The acts that have played the Covelli Centre in the ten years JAC Management has been in charge include Elton John, Darius Rucker, Brad Paisley, and Carrie Underwood. Longtime area concert promoter Eric Ryan — who runs JAC — said he never imagined where the management company would be today.

But on Wednesday, council decided to hold off on deciding whether JAC Management would run both the Covelli Centre and what will eventually be the downtown amphitheater.

Council will keep the contract in the finance committee, have a big meeting with all parties involved, and then vote on if JAC will be the company in charge. That meeting date has not been set.

Given the success of JAC, why did Youngstown City Council decide to wait on extending its contract?

Mayor John McNally said council wants more time to look over a draft of the contract that was given to them late last week.

Councilman TJ Rogers is concerned because the amphitheater is not even under construction.

“How do you do a contract for something that’s not complete yet? Make sure we have contingencies in there so we’re covered in case, who knows what happens with the amphitheater,” he said.

Councilman Julius Oliver wants a community liaison hired, who would act as a link between the city and JAC. The liaison would make sure the Covelli Centre and amphitheater are made available to Youngstown-based community groups.

“We just wanted to have a person in place that was going to be able to go out into the community of Youngstown, engage more churches, organizations, and groups, as well as the people in this city to make sure these facilities are being utilized as much as possible for the people of Youngstown,” Oliver said.

Also during the city council meeting on Wednesday, a ten-year, 75 percent tax abatement was granted to Youngstown Campus Associates for new apartments on YSU’s campus.

Council approved spending $83,000 to study removing dams along the Mahoning River to clean it up and $125,000 to help people pay for problems when new water meters are installed.

Members also passed a resolution opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Lastly, a resolution supporting Youngstown Schools CEO Krish Mohip was removed from the agenda. It will be rewritten to say council supports Mohip, but not House Bill 70 — which gives the CEO complete control of the district.