Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)


Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)


Article excerpt

Laura K. Blackburn, Evansville

Hotel supporters overly optimistic

A quote from Randy Alsman's recent "Community Comment" raises some serious arguments in my mind. Mr. Alsman, vice president of the Redevelopment Commission, says

"Our community can profit from the new jobs created during construction and later permanently. Profit can come from increased overnight and day visitors for activities at The Centre, the Ford Center arena, and the hotel itself. New jobs and tax revenues can come from additional traffic at existing local restaurants and businesses, as well as new ones attracted by more Downtown activity. The City and County will also benefit financially via increased collections of property taxes, sales taxes, food and beverage taxes, innkeepers taxes, individual and business income taxes. The list is longer, but you get the idea."

Mr. Alsman is right, all of these things are possible, but a closer examination - sans rose-colored glasses - of the probability yields a different conclusion.

No doubt, temporary construction jobs will be created. Contracts will go to big political donors, and those jobs will last a year or so, at best. The permanent jobs created, in retail and hospitality, are notoriously "shaky" ways to support a family.

All of the tax potential will be there, but the success of revenue-raising potential rests on the gamble that the hotel is a sparkling success. When thinking about the feasibility of that success, I see that Evansville has little potential as a "destination city."

I can see that Evansville may have some potential in a convention "niche market," but I don't see it being a "player" in the wider market. It appears to me that the German-American practicality and work-ethic that has guided the city in its past "glory days" needs a revival. I am no Luddite, but I am practical. Lets put this proposal in a realistic light, and then decide what is best.

Jerry Lawrence, Evansville

Hotel will spark life, fun Downtown

Once again Evansville's "hospitality leaders" are promoting their own interest and promulgating an attitude of thinking small!

Of course we need a large hotel in Downtown Evansville! How else can you support the events we want to attract to the Ford Center (which itself is a victim of small thinking being located smack dab in the center of an area that cannot support it with parking).

But even the smaller conventions and shows that are attracted to our "second city" mentality cannot find adequate lodging for those who wish to visit our city. Yet the moguls who chose to build their facilities on the far sides of our city complain a new Downtown hotel will take away their business!

Just whose business do they think they have taken? That business came from Downtown and belongs there. …

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