Nydea Graves is a former council member and the only dissenter against the project. Citing her family’s more than 100-year history in Coatesville, Graves said the primary intent behind her “no” votes was her desire to make Coatesville a thriving community “for the people who already exist in the community.” .
“We deserve to have parks and sports centers with us that aren’t thinking about who can come in, who we’re bringing in, but really thinking about what the community is that already exists and how we can meet their needs,” she said .
Graves said that while she supports the city’s revitalization efforts, she believes the National Sports and Events Center is a “gentrifying project.”
“For me, one of the first big steps is to bring in more air quotes, ‘more desirable community members,’ and then sending out community members who were there — gave Coatesville its fundamental charm and culture,” Graves said.
She wants the focus to be on rent control and raising wages in the city so people can continue to afford to live in Coatesville.
Logan said he didn’t want Coatesville residents to find themselves in a situation where they were “priced out by the market.”
“We’re not just going to relax as we see some upside in development. We have to be very vigilant to make sure we have things balanced,” Logan said.
Recently, state legislatures have been working to secure additional funding for the treaty. On July 19, the Commonwealth Financing Authority approved $3.6 million in government grants and a $5.4 million loan. The money came through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Business in Our Sites program and will be used for site preparation, construction, and administrative costs, among other things.
In a joint statement announcing the funding, State Senator Carolyn Comitta and State Assemblyman Dan Williams commended the company for bringing job opportunity and investment to the City of Coatesville.
“The Flats site has been renovated for years. It is an ideal location to build on the city’s steel heritage, with an economic boom that is both attracting visitors and providing new opportunities for the city’s residents,” said Comitta.
The developers believe that their idea offers more sustainability than previously proposed projects. IDG Development estimates that the National Sports and Events Center will add more than 300 jobs and more than $20 million to Coatesville after its third year of operation.
“That’s why we founded NSEC – to build a project that is financially supported by the region but benefits the community through economic impact and job creation. So that’s really what we did. And that’s a big part of why we feel like we’re getting all the political support because of all the residual value that comes with this type of project,” Wood said.
For now, developers are focused on infrastructure design and financing, as well as conducting traffic studies before finalizing plans for the project.
“It’s really going to change this area and put Coatesville on the map — around the world,” Wood said.
IDG Development plans to start construction by the end of 2023. The aim is to cut the ribbon of the National Sports and Events Center towards the end of 2024.