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County commissioners visit velodrome amid lease negotiations

By Cristiano Lima, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Apr 16 2014 11:16:28 PM CDT
ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

The Lehigh County Commissioners met with Valley Preferred Cycling Center representatives on Wednesday evening to discuss the group’s request to extend their current lease for the velodrome by 20 years.

Currently serving out the final four years of its initial 20-year contract, the Trexlertown velodrome hosts numerous community programs, events and professional racing competitions usually from early spring into mid-November.

Their staff hopes that a new lease agreement would help to solidify long-term plans for improvement.

“Right now we’re a seasonal venue and our plans are to become an annual venue” said Marty Nothstein, a former Olympic gold medalist in cycling and the current Executive Director of the Valley Preferred Cycling Center.

According to Nothstein, in order to convert the facility into a year-round venue it would require the construction of an additional indoor cycling building, likely five- to ten-thousand square feet, where activities could take place during the winter months.

Valley Preferred officials claim that in order to do so they will need to find sponsors who will likely also seek out long-term deals.

 “We understand the sponsors would be more comfortable with a long term commitment” said Lehigh County commissioner Vic Mazzioti.

Several board members however raised concerns over the long length of the lease, which will likely extend beyond their tenures on the board.

Others questioned whether the current arrangement of having Valley Preferred run the establishment as a non-profit with the county maintaining ownership is ideal.

“We’re just trying to explore if there’s a better relationship to be had here or not,” said Scott Ott.

Committee chairman, Thomas Creighton, though reaffirmed his belief that the current set-up was indeed the best going forward.

“I feel like we have the best situation right here” he said.

The county leases out the 24-acres utilized by the cycling center for one dollar a year. The velodrome raises revenue to pay for staff members mostly through sponsorships and advertisements.

“A lot of people in this room have long term plans in this venue” said a representative from Air Products, one of the velodromes many partners.

Representatives from other sponsors such a Rodale and Univest banking were also in attendance.

Both Valley Preferred and Lehigh County officials stressed that there was no need to rush the negotiations, but said an agreement would likely be reached in the coming few months.