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Deadline for Rhinos to vacate Capelli Sport Stadium has been extended

It appears both sides are still talking in the dispute surrounding the lease for Capelli Sport Stadium in Rochester.

This Wednesday, February 28, had been the deadline set by City Hall for the owners of the Rochester Rhinos to vacate that stadium. City officials had said the previous announcement by team owners David and Wendy Dworkin that they would not field a team for the upcoming season means that they have defaulted on their lease.

But on Monday a spokeswoman for City Hall released a statement which said:

"In regards to Capelli Sport Stadium, the City will continue to negotiate based on what is in the best interest of our taxpayers. In an effort to come to a resolution that is amicable to all parties, the City of Rochester has extended the deadline to vacate the Stadium to March 12."

The Dworkins had earlier said they would not field a team in the USL this year after they were unable to raise the $1.3 million they needed to make the operation financially viable this year.

But the league had told the Rhinos they would remain in good standing with the USL this year, and the Dworkins had said that Capelli Sport Stadium will host several other USL games during the year. In recent weeks there has been news of other activities scheduled for the stadium this year including games by the Rochester Lancers soccer teams, and a Little Italy festival.

Earlier on Monday a neighborhood group said that it is so concerned about a potentially empty Capelli Sport Stadium, they are threatening to take legal action if there was still an impasse between the City of Rochester and the owners of the Rochester Rhinos at the end of the month.

The President of the Little Italy Association, Silvano Orsi, says his group is calling for a more comprehensive community input and discussion.           

“We believe the community should be involved, and especially the Little Italy Neighborhood Association, The Lyell-Otis neighborhood association, and the Edgerton Neighborhood Association.  We should be involved with what’s happening down there.  We’re heavily invested in the area.”

Orsi says Capelli stadium is the Lyell area’s biggest economic driver.

The owners of the Rhinos, Wendy and David Dworkin, say per their attorneys they have no comment at this time.

And they remain in discussions with the city through legal counsel.

Alex Crichton is host of All Things Considered on WXXI-FM 105.9/AM 1370. Alex delivers local news, weather and traffic reports beginning at 4 p.m. each weekday.
Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.