Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Arena Action Plan

The Arena Action Plan is available on the county website. To go directly to the plan, click here. To go directly to the exhibits, which provide all the detailed support for the plan, click here.

As bloggers are so good at analysis, I'm very interested in your perspectives!

16 comments:

Lloyd said...

Hidden taxes, I love them.

At least we are not screwing ourselves, just those whom we wish to welcome to our city.

Maggie Thurber said...

Lloyd - our h/m tax is the third highest in the state right now. There's also no analysis of the impact of the 2% increase in h/m taxes on occupancy rates in the study.

Further, my biggest question - which was how much NEW spending will we see from building this - is addressed by saying that additional research would be "necessary to quantify the incremental impacts."

Lisa Renee said...

I'm going to finish reading the complete report but right now after seeing the five proposed sites I'm having a hard time getting beyond some of the buildings that would be destroyed.

That's depressing, especially considering which site is the one selected.

Maggie Thurber said...

Lisa - when you've finished reading it, I hope you'll blog about your impressions, too!

Lisa Renee said...

Maybe it's just me but it doesn't really seem that much more detailed than the previous studies with the exception of a few drawings as to what it might look like.

This plan like the other ones is not reporting that many new events, it is in part counting events that do already happen but just at their venue, such as the 24 family shows that include Disney on Ice, the Circus, Sesame Street Live, Harlem Globetrotters, and Stars on Ice. Same with hockey games, they will not be new. Quite a bit hinges on the hope that an arena football team will be found as well as additional concerts. Since it was clearly stated this is not designed to compete with Detroit or Cleveland, the simple fact remains that most larger music events do happen in those towns and people from Toledo do attend. Will promoters add Toledo rather than replace either Cleveland or Detroit on a tour? Considering we could not sell out the recent Ashley appearance at the Zoo? Not to sound pessimistic but trading one local venue location for another one is not the same as attracting new.

I'm also not sure about the $14,000,000 for naming rights - especially after looking at this most recent list. You'll see what size/locations do pull down the higher naming rights.

I'm also not thrilled about the fact that this will not be voter approved and it really seems as if it doesn't matter what the voters think it will happen. I'd feel much better about this, especially the creation of a non-profit organization to run this if a majority of Lucas County Voters did demonstrate they supported this. While the public hearings are nice, that's not the same thing as actually letting us decide if we want the County to help fund an arena.

Then of course the destruction factor depending on which site plan is chosen. What if someone doesn't want to sell? Will the County then take their land by eminent domain?

From a practical standpoint, can the County pull this off and still be able to fund a new jail?

That's my immediate feelings after reading the full pdf.

Maggie Thurber said...

Lisa - thanks for the perspective.

I agree with you about letting the public vote on this, but I don't think that will happen. The way this is structured, a vote is not required.

However, since it will require a change in the state law to allow us to impose a higher hotel/motel tax, the state legislature will have to vote.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who saw this as 'not much new.' Other than an arena football team and some potential new concerts, there isn't a lot of detail. And, as I said earlier in response to Lloyd, they didn't address what was, in my opinion, the biggest question which is: how much NEW spending will this arena generate? They just say that "additional research....will be necessary to quantify the incremental impacts."

They did, however, change the focus of the economic impact, which I predicted. Since most arenas really do not result in additional income to the community, they are justified by the 'spin-off' businesses (adjacent to the arena) or by being a 'catalyst' for other development.

So rather than give real numbers for the NEW spending versus redirected spending, we're told how this is going to be THE solution to all our downtown revitalization efforts.

If anyone has any specific questions they want asked, let me know. I plan on asking quite a few!

Kate said...

Well, I don't know enough about the geography/history and long term planning to be able to comment on the arena so much.

My comment is on the political maneuvering. I'm really shocked, that so close on the heels of a glaring professional misconduct - those two have done it again.

I understand they waited until after business hours, again, to make sure that you didn't see the plan Maggie. Is it true that you yourself were sent out of town on County business while this happened?

2 thoughts:

1. If their conduct is beyond reproach on the arena project - why the cloak and dagger stuff?

2. Do they really think this wouldn't come out in the event either of them ran for re-election? Do they think the county wants people who PUBLICLY run a private good ol' boy network in office? No, the area is trying to recover economically and leaders who cannot conduct themselves properly probably have very little chance of reelection.

Just my two cents worth. I just think people who don't have anything to hide...conduct themselves in a transparent manner.

Maggie Thurber said...

kate - the report was received late Tuesday. I don't know if my fellow commissioners got it when received. I only know that the office closes at 4:30 and it was left on my assistant's chair around 5:30.

My bigger concern is that one local media outlet got all the information ahead of time. My comment to Comm. Wozniak, who sent me an email about the press conference to "announce" the report, was that the report had already been 'announced' in The Blade....

(yes, I was in Chicago at the National Association of Counties conference. I was nominated by our state association to serve on the Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee for NACo.)

But these games are played all the time and I'm used to it.

Regardless of when I actually got my copy, I've read it and am organizing the questions - and there are MANY. The questions will be asked, and there will be a public accounting of the questions and any answers so at least the citizens will have an informed opinion on the project.

I hope you'll read the report and share any concerns. When public hearings are planned, I'll post them.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Everyone STOP and take a deep breath and exhale s l o w l y.

Can't you see "the vision?"

Use your imagination, and savor the dream.

Put on your rose-colored glasses and bask in the luminous glory of this project.


There will be plenty of time for finger-pointing, excuses, accusations and political back-biting when the project fails to meet the lofty expectations.

Plenty of time to blame everything and everyone else for YOUR/THEIR bad decisions after the taxpayers take it in the shorts for another failed project. . .

That is sarcasm (for now); later it may very well become prophesy.

And, yeah, I am negative about loophole laden projects such as this.

Maggie Thurber said...

Hooda - your sarcasm is always welcome! However, I sadly agree that your words may prove to be prophetic...

Lloyd said...

Maggie,

I hope you know I was being sarcastic about the "hidden tax" comment.

Interesting on how the tax increase is reported as a 2 percentage point increase, making it seem small. The tax, from my understanding, is going up from 8% to 10%. That would mean a 25% increase in the hotel tax!

You said we have the third highest tax in Ohio, I would be cureous to see how it would rank nationwide.

(hotel rooms in Toledo are expensive, I don't know if the tax is the primary cause of this though)

Do said...

This whole plan has some serious holes in it, but before I go off on a tirade I'm going to read it again. I just get so darned irritated with this whole project that I could scream.

This is not a NEW project. This is not a NEW idea. Geez! This is not even a NEW report - just seems a little 're-arranged' for this presentation.

The entire project - Arena project - is way past due for implementation. We all can agree on that, I think.

What amazes me is the WAY it's being done (or NOT being done) that just causes my hair to curl.

My question, in the meantime, is why does Toledo NOT promote the venues we already have as far as attracting shows/concerts? We have the Stranahan, the Valentine, and 5/3 Field. When there isn't a ball game why couldn't some band/group be courted to perform there? Portable stages are always available from somewhere, and the lighting, seating, concessions, restrooms, handicap access, etc is already in place. I realize that this is really limited by the seasons, but it could be done.

OK - I'm going back to my reading now. I'm going slow as it makes my head hurt too much.

Michael said...

Maggie:
I checked the commissioners' site, but didn't see any schedule yet for public input meetings on the arena. Will there be any?

Or, how should the community voice their thoughts, other than, of course, via your blog and ToledoTalk.com? ;)

Mike

Maggie Thurber said...

Mike - they're not yet scheduled. As soon as they are, I'll post here, on Moderate Toledo and on Toledo Talk. I'm sure they'll also be posted on the county website (www.co.lucas.oh.us)

Tired of Toledo said...

Maggie,

I enjoyed the exhange of ideas we had on the Toledo Talk web site about the arena plan. While we've agreed to disagree on this, I admire and applaud you for the class you show. It's too bad some of the comments directed toward me showed no class, just intemperate behavior.

Maggie Thurber said...

tired - I love good discussion and am very comfortable agreeing to disagree. (besides, I get a lot of practice at that in the commissioner meetings - LOL)

Thank you for the complement, too. It's much appreciated!

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