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Mayor Sarno's Letter Seeking Assistance for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno released a copy of a letter that he has sent to Governor Deval Patrick and Congressman Richard E. Neal seeking their assistance for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's financial concerns.

March 31. 2009

Governor Deval Patrick
Massachusetts State House
Office of the Governor
Room 360
Boston, MA 02133

Congressman Richard E. Neal
300 State Street, Suite 200
Springfield, MA 01105

Dear Governor Patrick & Congressman Neal:

I hope this letter finds you well. I'm writing to you regarding the financial situation of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

As you may be aware, a recent front page story (attached) was published on March 29, 2009 in the Sunday Republican regarding the dire state of the BHOF's finances.

Please be aware that my office has been aware of this issue and has been working behind the scenes with the BHOF's leadership in an effort to stabilize their financial situation. We've engaged our economic development financial consultants, the National Development Council - a national non-profit that specializes in community and economic development, to review this situation and develop a strategy to correct some of the issues.

At the same time, we would welcome any assistance available from our partners at the state and federal level. As you know, the BHOF is a national treasure that brings not only hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Commonwealth each year but also brings with it a great deal of stature and visibility as a one of a kind attraction located here in Massachusetts. This year the eyes of Ihe sports world will again be focused on Springfield as Michael Jordan is inducted to the BHOF, which will bring with it additional visitors all summer and for induction weekend.

The BHOF has also been integral in bringing the NCAA Division II Elite Eight men's basketball championship to the City of Springfield, which has resulted in an annual economic impact of over $2 million annually to the Pioneer Valley and has broken Division II attendance records while putting the city and the state in the national spotlight. The BHOF has also been essential in the NBA awarding a Development League franchise to the city, furthering our reputation as "Basketball City".

We value the BHOF not only for it's place in basketball history, but as you can see it's vitally important to our development efforts.

Our partners at the state and federal level. As you know, the BHOF is a national treasure that brings not only hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Commonwealth each year but also brings with it a greal deal of stature and visibility as a one of a kind attraction located here in Massachusetts. This year the eyes of the sports world will again be focused on Springfield as Michael Jordan is inducted to the BHOF, which will bring with it additional visitors all summer and for induction weekend. As you are also aware, the BHOF has been the catalyst for millions of investment on the Connecticut Riverfront, including the recently completed River's Landing project, which was an investment of over $15 million in developing Onyx restaurant and LA Fitness - an entirely private investment with no public subsidy.

With that, I ask that you consider any assistance that can be offered to their immediate financial concerns.

We are working closely with them on their top issue - debt refinancing, to help stabilize them for the short and long term. While we explore refinancing possibilities at the city level, they have also sought assistance and have an interest in MassDevelopment's programs if they might be of help to either the refinancing issue or to further stabilizing the organization.

I know we all have the same goal in ensuring the health and success of the BHOF for years to come in Springfield, and I look forward to talking with you about this importation situation soon.

Sincerely,

Dominic Sarno
Mayor

cc: Michelle Mansilla, - Administrator for the Governor
cc: John Doleva, President & CEO BHOF

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