By: Diane Benjamin
I’ve been reading Pantagraph reports this morning from 2000-2004 pertaining to the Coliseum. If you have a Bloomington library card, you can access ProQuest on-line and read them yourself. Search “Sports arena downtown Bloomington”. Unless you are signed into the library system, the Watchtower links below will not work.
Yes, there was a fight about location. The airport manager wanted it built on their property, or close by. Markowitz wanted it downtown, she promised it would ignite building programs and renovation in the immediate area.
Other utterances from elected officials:
Young professionals, single and married, and empty-nesters want to live downtown.
The City and District 87 will receive a substantial reward.
Markowitz claimed a handful of developers wanted to build a downtown hotel.
Markowitz 2003 on the opposition: “I think they’re scared to death we’re going to raise taxes and that’s not true. We’ve said it all along”.
Markowitz called the arena a “NEED”.
Former City Manager Hamilton and Markowitz said that building a community is more than basics like roads, sewer, water, police, fire and garbage pickup.
Construction cost started at $17 million and rose to $37 million
In 2001 Tari Renner (IWU political scientist) was paid to do public polling: $2,600 http://watchtower.bloomingtonlibrary.org:2400/newsstand/docview/252406036/485A07FBC92C40F5PQ/141?accountid=9627
The City of Bloomington paid $128,000 for a feasibility study! The study claimed estimated revenue of $7.1 million per year with operating expenses of $4.8 million. The net income of $2.3 million would be more than enough to cover bonds. The City could set aside $600,000 per year for future capital expenses. This is from a report in January of 2002. http://watchtower.bloomingtonlibrary.org:2400/newsstand/docview/252406036/485A07FBC92C40F5PQ/141?accountid=9627
The study was funded by the Rivermen, City of Bloomington, the airport, and the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Yes, the Rivermen were intimately involved in pushing for it.
Much of the above has also been uttered by Mayor Renner over the past couple of years. He was on WJBC this week talking about a lot of things, but the hotel presentation Gielbelhausen is going to make next week was included. A downtown hotel is a “NEED” to grow the local economy. (No word on what happens to a hotel he might put out of business) Of course, it will pay for itself and never cost citizens a cent. Listen here:
$128,000 was spent on the Coliseum feasibility study.
Total Audited Revenue last year at the Coliseum was $2,587,395 – not $7,100,00
Total Audited Operating Expenses without depreciation were $3,264,875 – less than the predicted $4,800,000
Tari claimed his hotel study only cost $20,000.
The $128,000 study was even close to being accurate. How accurate will a $20,000 study be? Is any study ever accurate?
If a hotel is such a wonderful idea, it would be built without taxpayer money or City assistance.
Since if won’t be built, it isn’t feasible no matter how many times Tari says it is.
The same fantasies Markowitz used are now being used by Renner. The results will be the same.