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Prices to rent the new Youngstown amphitheater and community alley were discussed

By David Skolnick

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Alley, Wean Park won’t be available until next spring

By David Skolnick


If you’re a promoter who wants to book the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre for a three-hour ticketed event for up to 1,000 people, it’s going to cost you at least $6,500.

It’s at least $2,500 to use Huntington Bank Community Alley, which, along with Wean Park, won’t be ready for another month and won’t be for rent until next spring.

For nonprofits, the rates are significantly cheaper.

Eric Ryan, president of JAC Management Group, which manages the city’s 22-acre riverfront park and amphitheater, and Derrick McDowell, the city’s community engagement and inclusion coordinator, discussed the prices for renting the facilities Wednesday with city council. The amphitheater opened in June.

Though companies and organizations want to use the new amphitheater for their events, Ryan and McDowell said, in many cases, the community alley is a better fit.

The alley, which is under the Market Street Bridge, can be rented for events to hold up to 500 people.

For nonprofits, the costs of using both facilities is less.

For free-admission events for nonprofits, it’s at least $2,650 for the amphitheater and $550 for the community alley.

For events with admission fees for nonprofits, it’s at least $3,750 for the amphitheater and $850 for the community alley.

The rates for Wean Park will be comparable to those charged for other city parks, Ryan said.

But Councilwoman Anita Davis, D-6th, expressed concern about the costs.

“We’re trying to get festivals off of city streets and down to the amphitheater,” she said. “For $2,650, it’s not conducive to a three-hour event, particularly because they’re eight hours long. It’s not what we told the public. We told them this facility was for them. You need to cut down on the prices and make sure they’re affordable to the community.”

Ryan said the prices are comparable to similar facilities.

McDowell added, “The community is in love with the amphitheater, and that’s great. But we have a 20-acre park that may be more suitable for now, and then, over time, an event can grow into the amphitheater.”

Councilman Nate Pinkard, D-3rd, said it sounded like people want to use the amphitheater and are being directed to the community alley.

“It’s a slippery slope,” he said.

McDowell said, “We would never try to remove options from people. ... We’re educating you on the choices.”

Community alley and the park won’t be ready for another month, Ryan said. They were supposed to open this month.

The problem was that the heavy and steady rain during June and July delayed finishing the project, he said.