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Nov 3, 2011
Pawlowski's Palace of Sport
Although the Arena/Concert Venue will not open for over a year, attendance is already down over 1 million people. Only several months ago, Mayor Pawlowski told City Council that the Center would attract 1.5 million people annually. Earlier, he used the figure of two million. Although his current figure of 500,000 is more realistic, there's still no lack of sugarplums. The Morning Call uses the term vision, hallucination would be more accurate. The best guess estimate for the 40 home hockey games would be 200,000, requiring an additional draw of 300,000 for concerts. Between the lines, his mention that real estate taxes may be necessary to finance the project, is the writing on the wall. Also translating political speak into english, there are no plans, whatsoever, for parking and traffic. His claim that the hockey fans will visit upscale restaurants and stores after the games is beyond wishful thinking.
Here is the Shadow Mayor's* take; The square block White Elephant will sit dormant most days and nights of the year, creating a ghost town feeling, sucking whatever life downtown had remaining. Stores and restaurants, induced by grants and incentives, will wither and drop away when the owners must start reaching into their own pockets. On the sixty or so nights a game or event takes place, the restaurants will do virtually no business, as the fans scurry back to their cars afterwards. Welcome to the bitterness of the sugarplum's reality.
*a self anointed title I bestowed upon myself