- the Arena Convention Center site will generate more sales tax dollars.
- Greater return for our dollars
- More people coming into town.
- Utilize existing infrastructure.
- Bigger events, more events, simultaneous events.
- Common sense played a roll in the decision.
- Consideration of what we already have - 4 lane roads, good supply of parking, a 15 year old convention center, an arena.
- What the people want - he was told flat where the people wanted it to be during the campaign and since he was elected. The vast majority prefers it at the arena.
- 6 out of 10 people will be coming from out of town. We have to cater to the customer.
- The arena site is more prudent and cheaper to built there. We will get a return a lot quicker.
When asked to define the difference between commercial and economic development, the mayor said:
- There is a distinct difference between commercial development and economic development.
- The reason you build it there is for total economic return - that's sales tax dollars.
- You don't build an event center to bring new restaurants, hotels and shops. They are not the main indicator of success.
- You create a powerful economic engine when you build an event center connected to a convention center because major, major events as well as major, major conventions will occur.
I know I am probably beating a dead horse to death but let's be realistic if you want to talk about commercial or economic development. An event center along the river greenway at Cherapa Place has more adjacent land for private development than the Arena/Convention Center site. There is land along the river and in the uptown area of Falls Park. When the relocation of the railroad out of downtown happens, almost 16 acres of prime real estate will open up for parking and development opportunities.
To me, this mayor does not see the value (or maybe he doesn't understand the value) in planning for the future. He is only interested in what he can make happen quick and cheap just to get it done. We shouldn't be focused on getting a return "a lot quicker." The city should be focused on a return that will be sustaining for 50 years or longer. Contrary to what this mayor thinks, there is value in long term planning.
The mayor is banking his return on investment forecast mainly on more major, major events and more major, major conventions. Estimates made by a consultant. Estimates made by consultants 15 years ago when the convention center was built and still haven't materialized.
I hope the city council has the long view instead of the short view. The city's future in terms of economic development and return on investment is dependent on it. It's the mayor's job to convince the voting public that this thing is doable. I wonder if he will make it to the finish line.