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Spirited Franke coliseum negotiations hit Round 3

By BLAKE SEBRING Of The News-Sentinel

It's the start of Round 3 in the Stephen Franke Memorial Coliseum negotiations battle, and this one may go the distance to decide matters.

The coliseum faxed it's second offer to Franke yesterday in Chillicothe, Mo., after spending Thursday working on it. That was after representatives for Franke gave the coliseum a rough idea of what they hoped for.

Frankly it was so astonishing, I doubt we could even touch it," said coliseum General Manager Phil Olofson. “So, we put together something else.”

Former Komet owner David Welker recently received permission from the International Hockey League Board of Governors to move the franchise to Albany, N.Y. Franke has been negotiating with owners of the Flint S»pirits about moving that franchise to Fort Wayne to replace the Komets. The Flint Board of Directors has voted to approve the sale if a lease can be worked out with the coliseum.

Though he would not disclose terms of the proposal, Olofson said tho new offer includes roughly 85 percent of what the Frankes asked for.

By Monday we should have a decision, but the ball is in their court,” he said. “We

have really given a lot of financial ground. We're reasonably sure that it's an offer that will fly."

The new proposal gives Franke several options to build with. Olofson said the coliseum is gambling the new owners can draw more fans than in previous years. Attendance at Komets games has dropped from 188,502 for 48 games during the 1986-87 season to 121,001 for 43 games last season Rent has also dropped from $169,644 five years ago to $82,900 last year.

"We’re giving them enough to give them a start, a substantial reduction in costs," Olofson said. “'They’re telling us they are going to go out there and beat the bushes

and come up with a larger crowd. If they don’t come up with a larger, but a smaller crowd, we’re going to hurt. We’re gambling with them that they are going to produce " Olofson said neither side has taken a hard-line stance in the negotiations.

Franke was unavailable for comment Part of the bargaining is that hockey is an expensive sport for a building. With the use of dasher boards, ice,, upkeep, staffing and other general expenses, Olofson said it costs the coliseum $5,200-$5,300 for each game in a 41-game regular season.

Olofson hopes for an answer Monday.

We’re giving them (he whole weekend ”