Sunday, July 19, 2009

Column: Rodeo can help drive economy

Something odd is going on here. Normally a piece like this will be labeled "Talk of the Town." Here it's just called "Column" to distinguish it from the letters. Is this a new idea for the editors, or is it some form of special treatment for George, who I'm sure is not on the editors' list of faves?

As to George's idea itself, I dunno. I would not like to see the middle school grounds turned into a baseball park, and while an equestrian center is more 'traditional' for Prescott, it's still devoting a lot of resources to a sport, exclusively serving the small number of residents who are into it. I gather George is imagining that businesses would lease the City property more or less permanently, and that's better than offering a big developer a sweetheart deal on public land to build something really awful, like say a hockey arena.

Update, 6:30pm: Mayor Wilson, in the comments, says, "With a new multi-use facility, the Prescott Rodeo Grounds could be used for many other functions, such as concerts and other events. The possibility of a permanent “Rawhide” type attraction has also been discussed." Oh, lordy.

Let's see, the City already owns an underused theatre that with some investment and commitment would be great for concerts, etc. There's also a really good facility at Yavapai College that can't draw enough people to break even, and a really big multi-use facility in PV that if it maintains its current success rate will likely be an antique mall in another ten years. Concerts are not turning profits here, Mayor. And a faux-cowboy show for the tourists? Are you serious? Completely apart from the lowbrow creepiness of the idea (sort of an update of the old Smoki shows, I suppose), are you saying you'd sell the fairgrounds to an attraction producer? I gotta wonder whether the voters might like to have word with you about that. With ideas like these floating around I'd just as soon see the whole place in weeds.

But we all ought to notice that the Mayor is describing a process in which the voters are apparently not considered stakeholders, working out what to do with public lands behind closed doors. I for one would like to hear a whole lot more about that.

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