Donation from the Youngstown Foundation Aids in Progress of Amphitheater

By Morgan Petronelli

The atmosphere of downtown Youngstown is hushed in the evenings, but that is set to change. The city will be hearing tunes from the new amphitheater sooner than expected.

With the Youngstown Foundation’s 100th birthday in 2018 quickly approaching, the foundation has gifted the City of Youngstown $3 million to aid in the production of the amphitheater, which is set to break ground in spring 2018.

The project is planned to be located in a new riverfront park that will stretch from the Covelli Centre to the Mahoning Avenue bridge.

Along with helping out in the production of the amphitheater, the Youngstown Foundation also has the naming rights to the new event center for the next 20 years, which will be named the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheater.

In a press release from the Covelli Centre and JAC Management, Jan Strasfeld, executive director of the Youngstown Foundation said, “We are thrilled to play a part in a project that will transform the future landscape of downtown Youngstown and the quality of life for many years to come.” 

Strasfeld said the Foundation could not think of a better way to start their 100th year than with a donation to the City of Youngstown.

The amphitheater is planned to be set up as a typical outdoor event facility with lawn seating, hard seating located in front of the stage and a VIP section. The facility will also feature multiple concession stands and a cutting-edge stage with a new lighting/sound system.

According to a press release, John McNally, mayor of Youngstown, said the City of Youngstown is grateful for the Youngstown Foundation because the venue is becoming a reality.

“Through this generous gift, we’ll be able to bring to life this vision of creating an even more vibrant downtown Youngstown in a new outdoor facility that embraces the arts, culture and the community,” McNally said.

Eric Ryan, chief executive officer of JAC Management Group, said he is proud to have the Youngstown Foundation as a partner in the amphitheater project and their work has positively affected the community.

“My team has been working on this project for the better part of five years and to see what was once a dream become a reality is truly indescribable,” Ryan said.

This project will not only affect people from all over the Youngstown area, but also the residents of downtown. One resident spoke of his thoughts on the addition of the amphitheater

“I’m definitely excited to see an amphitheater come to downtown and I’d love to go some concerts there, it would probably be so much fun,” said Dimitri Callow, a student at Youngstown State University and downtown Youngstown resident.

Callow said with all of the development currently going on within the city, he would be interested in seeing the addition of more establishments to eat at after concerts like Buffalo Wild Wings.

The grand opening for the amphitheater is set for spring 2019. For more information on the Youngstown Foundation and their contributions to the community, visit