September 17, 2014

Elyria
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Avon finally getting repaid for Crushers stadium

AVON — Three years after it applied for the money, the city is being repaid for a small portion of the cost of its minor league All Pro Freight Stadium.

The Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission voted Thursday to authorize a $200,000 reimbursement to the city.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Avon Mayor Jim Smith said Thursday. “We thought it had gone by the wayside. There was a huge amount of paperwork involved as we went through the whole process, but we’re very grateful to receive it nonetheless. It reimburses us for money we already have in the stadium.”

Built in 2009, the $13.6 million stadium was funded by a voter-approved income tax hike. Located at the junction of Interstate 90 and state Route 611, the ballpark is home to the Lake Erie Crushers, a Frontier League franchise, as well as the Cleveland State University baseball team.

“It’s not a huge sum, but it will help us pay for capital improvements down the line,” Smith said.

Stipulations accompanying the funds restrict their use to the ballpark.

“We can use it to replace things or to make other changes. We haven’t looked yet to determine what will be the best usage of the money,” Smith said.

Since 1988, the commission has dispensed nearly $480 million in capital funds appropriated by the state Legislature and Ohio governors to improve more than 300 projects involving nonprofit theaters, museums, historic sites and publicly owned professional sports venues, along with minor league sports facilities.

The Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission has played a role in providing reimbursement of varying sums spent in construction of major league facilities including the Cleveland Browns stadium, the Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ballpark, as well as minor league parks such as Columbus’ Huntington Park, home of the Cleveland Indians’ Triple-A Columbus Clippers.

Funds may not be allocated for the purchase of land.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.