Years after purchasing the facility, owners of the Rubber Bowl face question marks as they attempt to move forward with a renovation.
The Rubber Bowl was the longtime home of the University of Akron’s football program. Opening in 1940, the stadium hosted its last game for the Zips in 2008 and has been idle ever since.
Back in 2013, Team 1 Properties bought the Rubber Bowl for $38,000 and considered concepts that would make the facility operational. It had been slated to host the Akron Fire as part of a rebooted USFL, but plans for that league have not come to fruition. (The rendering above depicts what a post-renovations Rubber Bowl would have looked liked if that scenario.) Efforts have also focused on converting the Rubber Bowl into a multipurpose entertainment venue, but a zoning issue may stand in the way.
According to the City of Akron, the Rubber Bowl is intended to be a “public recreation building,” something that is controlled by a public entity. As a private group, Team 1 does not fall under this criteria and would need to receive approval from Akron’s planning commission and city council.
Team’s 1 attorney, William Corgan, questions the zoning rule but says that the group is still working to spruce up the Rubber Bowl. Aside from zoning, the Rubber Bowl also faces renovation costs that need to be resolved. It will take about $11 million to overhaul the facility, something that Corgan says Team 1 will not spend without assurance from the city. At this point, some city leaders are not keen on the idea. More from the Akron Beacon Journal:
Mayor Dan Horrigan said earlier this year that he’d like to see the facility torn down, an opinion shared by city Councilman Bob Hoch, who represents the neighborhood.
Neither has wavered from that stance.
“Either bring in the money and fix it up, or bring in your plan,” Hoch said Friday. “We’ve got to do something.”
The mayor said Friday that he hasn’t seen a definitive, written proposal and how a renovated stadium would benefit the city.
Corgan, though, said he delivered a “rough plan” to the city in June.
The university owned the facility until selling it to Team 1.
Image courtesy of Team 1.