I spent the past 25 years of my professional career in city government, working with other visionaries who planned big things for the city. I used to be troubled by those naysayers in the community who I thought always were against a big idea, against progress and growth. So the irony of my position on this event center is not lost on me. However, this position of mine was not based on being against progress or a vision for the future. I just didn't believe this plan was the right plan at this time.
You could not go anywhere these past few months without the event center topic coming up. This community is engaged and it is exciting. We are going to have a voter turnout that is unprecedented. No matter the outcome, citizens have finally become active in matters that matter in their community.
I was talking to a young person at the Augustana Football game last weekend and he said he was voting yes because he couldn't stand the idea that an event center may not be built in his lifetime or for decades to come. He didn't care if it really didn't make sense, he just wanted it built.
My thought was he was too young to be so pessimistic about the future and the ability for this city to make big things happen. It is an emotional position, not necessarily based on any facts or fiscal reality. It is not surprising since that is what was sold through the endless commercials and glossy flyers. Emotions are powerful in this debate. Big money has been spent to sell the vision.
It's almost over. Hopefully we all can move on, whatever the outcome this evening. If it passes, it will have fiscal implications on this city for decades to come. What will be, will be.