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HOF Will Stay in South Bend Through 2011

Agreement Could Keep Facility There Through 2012

December 16, 2010
Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - The College Football Hall of Fame will stay in South Bend through at least the end of next year and possibly through 2012.

The South Bend Tribune reported Wednesday that city officials and the National Football Foundation have reached an agreement on terms of how the hall will leave South Bend. The foundation had notified the city last year that it was ending its agreement with South Bend when the lease ends at the end of this month.

The hall is moving to Atlanta, to a new facility scheduled to open in March 2013.

Attorney Richard Nussbaum, who represented the city during the negotiations, said South Bend won't have to repay a $1.5 million loan it received from the foundation during the hall's early years to fund its operations. But the city will have to pay the foundation $137,000 for building and equipment repairs and maintenance costs incurred since 2002.

The agreement requires the city to give the foundation $500,000 a year in hotel/motel tax revenue next year, and again in 2012 if it stays until then, for operating expenses. City controller Gregg Zientara says the city has paid about that amount in each of the past three years.

Nussbaum said he was most pleased with a provision that forces the hall to vacate by Dec. 31, 2011, if the city finds a new user for the facility by March 31.

The hall moved to South Bend in 1995 from Kings Mills, Ohio, to be near the University of Notre Dame. Supporters predicted it would attract more than 150,000 visitors a year, but it drew about 115,000 people the first year and about 60,000 annually after that.

Atlanta officials project half a million visitors a year at the new facility. The building will be located between the city's massive convention center and Centennial Olympic Park. Groundbreaking is scheduled for August.