The State of Ohio announced Tuesday that its 2014 Biennial Capital Budget will include a $10 million grant to the Pro Football Hall of Fame to reconstruct Fawcett Stadium, the venue for the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony and the NFL/Hall of Fame Game. This grant is in recognition of the important role the Pro Football Hall of Fame and its annual Enshrinement Festival play in generating tourism and economic development for the State.
“We are very pleased that the Pro Football Hall of Fame and its Enshrinement Festival have been selected by the State of Ohio to receive this generous grant,” said Tom Schervish, Chairman of the Hall of Fame Board of Trustees. “This will be a tremendous help toward completing the $24.3 million project so that Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium can continue to serve as the venue for the annual Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony for many years to come.”
David Baker, President of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, pointed out that the Enshrinement Ceremony is the “key event” among all the events held during each year’s two-week Enshrinement Festival.
“Tens of thousands attend the Ceremony each year and millions more watch it on national television. “So, it is absolutely imperative that we improve the venue for the Ceremony in order to sustain and strengthen not only that event, but the entire Enshrinement Festival,” shared Baker. “All of this is a part of the plan to increase the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s role as a major catalyst for regional tourism and economic development.”
Stephen A. Perry, recently retired President of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Dennis Saunier, President & CEO of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, are leading the project fundraising campaign.
“During the past 50 years, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has become America's premier sports Hall of Fame and the annual Enshrinement Festival has become a major tourist destination in Ohio,” commented Perry. “We certainly want to thank Governor John Kasich for his leadership and support of sustain the Hall of Fame’s growth and development. We also want to thank members of the Ohio General Assembly, particularly Senator Scott Oelslager and Representative Kirk Schuring for their years of diligent effort to secure this historic level of support from the State of Ohio.
“This grant is a huge step toward the successful completion this project, however, there is much more work to be done and we are working with community leaders to secure additional financial support,” Perry continued.
“We also want to thank the other members of Stark County’s delegation to the Ohio Legislature and other leaders for their ongoing collaboration to make this project a reality,” Saunier added. “This project was strongly endorsed as the top priority for this region by all of the area's Chambers of Commerce and the Stark Development Board (SDB) on behalf of the businesses and community interests they represent. When the Canton Regional Chamber was asked by Governor Kasich to lead this process, we invited the other Chambers and the SDB to participate in the process. We want to thank the executives at these organizations for joining us in making this recommendation to the Governor and the Legislature. This project was also strongly endorsed by the Superintendent of the Canton City School District, for which we are grateful.”
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Project to Reconstruct Fawcett Stadium will preserve the iconic and historic elements of the 1938 structure. It will include new infrastructure and new seating in the North and South Stands, new technology systems for sound and video screens, improved parking, improved stadium access, new concession areas and restrooms and a new plaza adjoining the stadium and the Hall of Fame. The Project will be accomplished in two phases, starting in 2014 and completed in 2016.
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