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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2009 Archives > December 2009 > Johnnie B Wiley Sports Facility Lease Agreement

Johnnie B Wiley Sports Facility Lease Agreement

Contact: Peter K. Cutler


New 15-Year Agreement Clarifies Usage of East Side Facility for Athletic and Community Events, As Well As Control, Management and Operations Responsibilities

Mayor Byron W. Brown today announced that the city has reached a 15-year lease agreement for the control, management and operations of the Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletics Sports Pavilion, which follows the formation in June of a new board comprised of representatives of the local community, Buffalo Public Schools, the city’s development community, social service providers and local professional sports organizations that has participated in the continuing process of the restoration of the Johnnie B. Wiley Sports Complex and future planning for long-term athletic and social activities at the facility.

While the facility fell within the purview of the county under the existing city/county parks agreement, it will revert to the city when the inter-municipal agreement is terminated on December 31st.

The school district has long managed the facility and undertook the process of a condition survey of the facility by DiDonato Associates, which led to the issuance of construction-related Requests for Proposals. On June 10th, the Board of Education approved construction contracts totaling $1,967,309 for the planned restoration of the Eastside-based sports complex that will include: new artificial turf and synthetic surfacing, site drainage, new lighting, scoreboards and equipment for the facility’s football, soccer and baseball fields, as well as its track. In addition, new locker room and toilet facilities will be constructed in the facility’s maintenance/storage building. 

Under the new 15-year lease agreement, which was signed by the city, the school district and the JB Wiley Board, the first use of the athletic facilities are for District schools and collegiate activities approved by the District. The second and third use of the facilities will be for organized community youth athletic events and community events. Permits for the 2nd & 3rd use activities will be approved 60 days in advance by the JB Wiley Board, which will then be forwarded to the District for approval no later than 35 days prior to the requested activity. In addition, the city agreed to cover utility costs for electricity and gas capped at $38,000 and $15,000 respectively, which, if exceeded, will be covered by the District. The city will provide monthly utility usage reports to the District Superintendent.

“This new 15-year agreement, which can be extended another 5 years, removes any further impediment from the rehabilitation and restoration of the Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletics Sports Pavilion and lays out very clearly what entities are responsible for specific activities at the facility,” said Mayor Brown. “I commend the school district, the JB Wiley Board and our city Law Department personnel for working diligently to achieve this new agreement that opens the way for the modernization of this key community athletic and special event asset. No longer will anyone have questions about whose responsibility it is to operate and manage this facility and, most importantly, the youth of our community, both in amateur and collegiate athletics, will have the chance to play their sporting events in a first-class athletic facility.”

While the contract process still requires the approval of the Common Council and the Control Board, the key issues have been resolved by all of the affected parties.

"We are very excited about the Johnnie B. Wiley Sports Facility, the third, in a series of four facilities. One of the great advantages of this facility is its location in the heart of city. It is also another exceptional opportunity for the Buffalo Public Schools to collaborate with the entire city of Buffalo, as this facility will be shared by both the District and the community."

The Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletics Sports Pavilion board includes: Otis T. Barker, Sr., Director, Division for Youth, City of Buffalo; Dave Thomas, Director, Physical Education and Athletics, Buffalo Public Schools; Aubrey Lloyd, Superintendent, Physical Education and Athletics, Buffalo Public Schools; Cedric Holloway; Danielle Judge-Johnson, Boys & Girls Club of Buffalo; Thurman Thomas (Chair), former Buffalo Bill and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame; Mike Buczkowski, Vice President/General Manager, Buffalo Bisons; Dorothy Hill; Kenny Simmons; Brett Benderson, Vice president, Benderson Development; Kenny Whigham; and Joanne Wiley.

The City of Buffalo has held $2 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the restoration of the facility until the school district finalized plans for the actual restoration work.

Contractors selected by the Buffalo Public Schools are Anastasi Trucking and Paving (General Contractor, $1,745,499; source of funds: $1,545,499 HUD Grant; $200,000 LISC/National Football League grant); O’Connell Electric Company (Electrical Contract, $140,800; source of funds: HUD grant); J.R. Swanson Plumbing Co. Inc. (Mechanical/Plumbing Contractor, $81,010; source of funds: HUD grant).

In addition to these capital improvements, the city’s Department of Public Works conducted improvements to the facility’s tower building that focused on making the tower’s first floor functional for community meetings and other activities.

“In 2009, I put $53,500 in the city’s capital budget, which has gone toward HVAC and electrical improvements the facility’s offices and the city is currently conducting a roof repair survey of the facility with these funds,” said Mayor Brown. “In the city’s current 2010 capital budget, I recommended $428,000 for major improvements in the facility’s second floor offices, as well as the installation of a new elevator for the building. Our Public Works Department, earlier this year, also sealed broken windows in the building and cleaned the building’s second floor of refuse, including potentially harmful bird droppings.”