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Association founder wants to keep High School Sports Hall of Fame Museum in … – The Express Times

Bob Ferraro Sr. hopes that his dreams of establishing a National
High School Sports Hall of Fame in Easton aren’t dashed forever but said plans
to put the museum in the city’s new intermodal center are simply not financially
feasible.

Mayor Sal Panto Jr. announced Wednesday night that the National
High School Coaches Association had officially withdrawn plans to establish the
hall of fame in the building the city is constructing on South Third Street
. It is planned to house a parking garage, bus terminal
and city hall.

Ferraro, founder and chief executive officer of the National
High School Coaches Association, said Thursday that the association didn’t believe
the city’s lease offer was the right fit.

“It really wasn’t enough of a financial incentive for us to
do that,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we’re eliminating Easton
totally for the hall of fame. But we do have opportunities all over the country
from people who want this museum. (Easton)
would have to come up with a much better proposal than what they have.”

Ferraro said the city was offering the space for $14 per
square foot — only a $1 discount from the rate offered to the public. Panto
said the space being considered was roughly 7,000 square feet.

Panto, speaking to city council, did not rule out the possibility the museum could find a home elsewhere in the city, such as the first floor of the Alpha Building that previously housed The Crayola Factory. At the same time, he conceded the city may have to move on without the hall of fame.

“They’re being wooed by other communities,” Panto said.

An Easton native,
Ferraro admitted that the thought of not being able to establish the museum in
the city was an upsetting development.

“I am disappointed,” Ferraro said. “I’m disappointed in the
proposal we received.”

Recent interest in the hall of fame has been shown in Atlantic
City, New York City and Philadelphia,
Ferraro said, though his preference would be in the Lehigh
Valley.

“If not Easton,
we hope we can get a place in the Lehigh
Valley,” Ferraro said. “But if not that, we’ll do what is best for the sports hall of fame.”

The association founder said the museum is an exciting
element of the organization’s future, but it’s not the sole focus, and
fundraising efforts haven’t begun in full. Original plans to take part in a $5
million state grant have been dashed since the association would staff the
museum with volunteers and not the required 50 paid workers to take advantage
of the money, Ferraro said.

“Right now, there are no time constraints for us as far as
getting the museum launched,” he said.

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