Baltimore City Councilman John A. Schaefer, D-1st, said last night that he would request a draft of any proposed agreement for the city to allow the Baltimore Blast to operate the $7 million Clarence Du Burns Indoor Soccer Arena in Canton, which will open next month.
"I'm going to ask the solicitor [Neal Janey] if there is a draft agreement to see if there is anything contrary to what the community wants," said Mr. Schaefer, chairman of the council's Budget and Appropriations Committee.
City officials and John Borozzi, Blast vice president and general manager, said last night at a meeting with about 50 residents at the St. Casimir's Church meeting hall that they expect to reach agreement soon on terms for turning over operation of the arena to the Blast, which would allow the Major Indoor Soccer League franchise to use it for practices and to promote other events such as exhibition games or boxing matches.
City Recreation and Parks Director Marlyn Perrit told residents that the city's budget shortfall had compelled them to look for ways provide services more efficiently.
Residents, however, said they were concerned about the future of local youth soccer programs, particularly about whether it would cost them to use the new arena and the Blast would take over sponsorship of the Canton soccer leagues.
"I feel it's the city's fault that we've been kept in the dark," said Stephany Palasik, a local resident. "I'd like to know what privatization is. Someone from the community should be represented at the negotiations."
An agreement is expected to be reached and submitted to the Board of Estimates within a few weeks.