Thursday, April 19, 2007

More Harrison Square Thoughts from City Council Meeting

A couple of thoughts:

1. During the Fort Wayne city council meeting, Sam Talarico Jr asked a very legitimate question - How is the leap to 360,000 in projected attendance for the new baseball stadium justified? This was a very good question and I'll provide a short answer - it isn't.

However, the answer from the city was that the average attendance for new downtown stadiums is 200% the previous attendance. Since they are only projecting about 150% attendance they consider this "conservative". Let me explain in concrete terms what this attendance increase really is. The new stadium will have 5000 seats and 72 games - 5000 x 72 = 360,000.

They are projecting that they will essentially sell out every single game - I would hardly call that a conservative estimate. Now I do understand that there will be additional seating in areas outside the hard seating area but I think it's still quite a leap of faith to assume this type of increase - especially in the long term.

2. Councilman Tom Didier brought up another good point. He said that if Harrsison Square gets approved there should be something in the final contract that requires Hardball Capital to use local businesses to supply the concessions. In my opinion this is VERY important because if the city is going to talk about economic development then they need to back it up by supporting local small business.

There is no doubt, and the city's own economic impact study confirms this, that investment into local businesses cascade into other industries. We need to do everything we can to support our local businesses by giving them an advantage in the city's procurement process. The city has repeatedly awarded contracts to firms outside the city when there are people within the city that could do just as good a job.

The city and the council need to put their money where their mouth is (literally) when it comes to economic development...


thepoetryman said...

Money where their mouth is indeed. Send them your mathwork. I'm sure they would love to see the truth. Oh. No. They wouldn't would they?

Jeff Pruitt said...

They don't care. They have refused to provide us (the public) the inputs to their economic impact study - big surprise.

More on this later...