The City of South Bend today agreed to fork over $500,000 for improvements at Coveleski Stadium.
While the team recently said it would not need public monies to fund future improvements, the improvements in question have already been completed—and the payment is more of an IOU.
“It was something that had happened even with the old administration so it had been kind of lingering on. Obviously when we got into town there wasn’t a whole lot of time until opening day started,” said Joe Hart, President of the South Bend Silver Hawks.
When Andrew Berlin bought the team some two and a half years ago, he funded a $1.1 million project to convert the former Son’s of Isreal Synagogue into a team store.
NewsCenter 16 has learned that Berlin went ahead with the project only after the previous city administration promised to cover half the costs.
“We were patient, we have a good relationship with the city and as part of that public private business development and it was something that we were willing to do unfortunately it has taken about two and a half years but hey, it got there,” said Hart.
The South Bend Board of Public Works today voted to keep the city’s promise of the past. Members voted to pay the team $100,000 per year for the next five years.
The money will come from the city’s Professional Sports Development Fund, which consists of a portion of the sales taxes collected at sporting events.
“It’s certainly not anything that’s going into the pockets, it’s going to continue to be re-invested into the facility,” said Hart. “I know this year we already have, we’re going to do a little over $400,000 worth of improvements again, again to the facility so essentially all we’re doing is just kind of reinvesting it back, we’re putting in a brand new so und system, we’re doing about $100,000 worth of concession upgrades, we’re adding a new POS system, new refrigeration, new heating unit,” said Hart.
NewsCenter 16 today spoke with one city council member who said they were under the impression that the synagogue renovation was being done entirely at the team’s expense, but added, it wasn’t a big deal as long as the city money went toward more improvements.