City leaders debate types of events that should be held at Youngstown amphitheater

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Some council members are worried that JAC, the company that manages the amphitheater, would only choose events that would pay the most

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – City leaders are talking about how to make the best use of the new Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre, which they believe will become the hottest space in the city.

Earlier this summer, the amphitheater opened to heaps of public praise.

With the completion of Wean Park and Community Alley, the city now has a large outdoor space for events.

On Wednesday, Youngstown City Council talked about a plan on how to schedule events for the new venue and the adjacent park.

“Making sure we protect the city’s asset at the same time we’re giving the community access to the facility that’s truly theirs,” Councilman Julius Oliver said.

Some leaders are worried that JAC, the company that manages the amphitheater, would only choose events that would pay the most.

“We at JAC would certainly have to answer why we wouldn’t want to do such an event and there’s only a few reasons why we wouldn’t — if we thought it was a public security issue, that type of thing,” Eric Ryan said.

Community leaders realize that for the amphitheater to sustain itself financially, the city may have to change how it defines “community.”

“The word ‘community,’ in the sense of what we’re talking about, goes beyond our boundaries because we’ve got relationships with the Wean Foundation that exists in Warren,” said community liaison Derrick McDowell.

The complex has three venues — the amphitheater, Community Alley under the Market Street Bridge and Wean Park. City leaders believe any one of them could serve their needs.

“I think every event will have its place in the three entities that are existing,” Oliver said.

No plans were finalized at Wednesday’s meeting.

The city believes the entire complex will be ready for next year and hopes many of the festivals held around Youngstown will move there next summer. What they have to figure out now is how much to charge for those events.

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