The Associated Press
COLUMBUS — The Cleveland Browns said Thursday that 2016 summer training camp will be at their Berea facility, as machinations continue to eventually move the camp to Columbus.
The team said in a statement it is “working through” discussions with Columbus leaders on a new facility, adding that this summer’s camp would stay at its headquarters in the Cleveland suburb.
“Columbus is a good location for us for multiple reasons, including to give more convenient opportunities to our fans across Ohio to experience their team in person,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the team and a Columbus development group have asked the state to help pay $5 million to build a practice facility for the Browns at Ohio State University.
The Columbus Partnership made the request for the money in the biennial state capital improvements bill that will be proposed in the next few months. The request, which does not guarantee state approval, was first reported by The Columbus Dispatch.
Alex Fischer, president of the Columbus Partnership, said moving the summer practices to Columbus only strengthens the team and both Columbus and Cleveland. The team said in its statement that it was approached by Columbus officials interested in building a facility that could serve as a recreation center for area youth during the 11 months it’s not being used by the Browns.
An official site for the proposed facility has not been decided.
The Browns held a scrimmage at Ohio Stadium last summer that drew about 50,000 fans.
The idea is drawing backlash in Cleveland.
State Rep. Mike Dovilla, a Berea Republican who is running for a Senate seat this year, called it an “absurd idea” and a “money grab” that he will fight vigorously.
“The notion that the Legislature would support this capital request, which does nothing more than pit regions of our great state against one another — and audaciously proposes to use our hard-earned money to do so — is utterly preposterous,” Dovilla said in a statement.