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Economy and Business

A new sports and entertainment venue could be coming to downtown Akron
The University of Akron facility hinges on a possible Summit County sales tax increase

Kevin Niedermier
In The Region:

Plans are moving ahead to build a sports arena and entertainment facility in downtown Akron. Today the University of Akron trustees approved a proposal with Summit County and the city of Akron to build a basketball facility on university and city land across from Canal Park baseball park.

As WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports, the plan hinges on a county sale tax increase.

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No University of Akron funds would be used to build the $76 million, 9,000 seat arena. The future home of the Zips men and women’s basketball teams would be funded by a quarter of  1 percent county sales tax increase that would go before voters in November.

Next month, County Executive Russ Pry will present the ballot proposal to county council, and public hearing will follow. The new tax would generate about $20 million a year. Jason Dodson is Pry’s chief of staff. He says besides funding the arena, the additional money go toward public safety needs including improvements at the county jail and emergency radio upgrades, plus other capital improvements.    

“Thirteen million dollars will go for those issues, public safety and capital needs for the county. The other $7 million will go to fund the design and construction of a new arena.”

Dodson says the county will own the facility until the tax expires in 23 years. Then ownership of the arena goes to the Development Finance Authority of Summit County. Details of the plan are still being worked out.                                                        

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