Thursday, February 12, 2009

Opposites Attract

In a surprise move, Station Square announced yesterday that they had an investor to re-open the Chevrolet Amphitheater previously closed because of confusion over the new casino. How much is it costing to re-open this venue? $50,000. That's a far cry from the $12 Million entertainment complex being planned on the other side of the city.

The North Side hotel-entertainment-dining fiasco has caused a lot of grief among North Side residents, but Governor Rendell is almost begging to add $4 Million to their pot-of-plenty in spite of this mind-numbing recession. I expect he'll recommend legalizing and taxing prostitutes to pay for this project.

Certainly seems suspicious to me that Rendell is so eager to hop on-board this latest North Side boondoggle. Is it because of pay-to-play politics? Is it because he's distracting us from the truly evil deeds he's playing over in Philly? If anyone knows, I'm sure they've been paid off. But I'd sure feel better about it all if there was some reform in Harrisburg ala the GOP. Maybe then we can have realistic projects like the Chevy Amphitheater that add value to the city while not costing the region an arm and a leg. In the meantime, we'll be subsidizing Toby Keith's new restaurant.

Don't get me wrong. I believe the more venues/hotels/restaurants the better. Let the people decide. But I also believe that if you can't afford it, you shouldn't build it/buy it/rent it - unless of course you're giving major kickbacks to the residents and raising their quality of life. Now is the time for Rendell to listen to the North Side residents and insist on a landmark community benefits package ala the new arena.

3 comments:

Bram Reichbaum said...

So we have this in Station Square, the amphitheater attached to the Steelers -- the amphitheater attached to Holdings Acquisitions Co. Casino -- the recently renovated Point State Park concert space -- and something that I believe is being envisioned in the Hill / Uptown area. Am I missing anything?

Now to your point:

"But I also believe that if you can't afford it, you shouldn't build it/buy it/rent it - unless of course you're giving major kickbacks to the residents and raising their quality of life. Now is the time for Rendell to listen to the North Side residents and insist on a landmark community benefits package ala the new arena."

I love the way you frame this issue. There's nothing wrong with "kickbacks" as you describe it, or a good-natured "shakedown" as others are calling it, if it involves public money and it's an elective/borderline situation.

rocki934 said...

I concur.

-Rachel C.

Vannevar said...

I followed up on this with a post on my blog at : http://vannevar.blogspot.com/2009/02/syntax-of-sin-tax.html.

Cheers, Vannevar.