Do we need a $75 million-$85 million arena expansion? Here are details reported by Telegraph Herald: Dec. 9, Dec. 14, Dec. 19, 2018; Nov. 13 and Dec. 21, 2019; Jan. 7, 2020.
U.S. Cellular 9,000 seat arena — the executive director states that “you build it and hope you can fill it.” Hope doesn’t pay the bills.
The current arena management company states, “there is a honeymoon of five to seven years with new arenas.” Good results for five to seven years don’t pay the bills.
Arenas in Cedar Rapids, Madison and the Quad Cities stated, “it is also important to remember that arena revenue will almost never be more than expenses.” Another reason for a no vote.
“Five Flags expansion plan would hike taxes an average of $153 per home valued at $139,493.” Based on 2018 costs, look for even higher taxes.
Telegraph Herald editorial stated, “... but that opportunity must be taken with a good dose of realism. Even under the rosiest of scenarios, a new Five Flags arena will not be a money maker.” Another reason for a no vote.
“Blocking Fifth Street is required for the expansion.” We reopened Main Street for good reason.
“Consultants estimate that the city’s operation subsidy will stabilize at about $300,000 annually, or about $500,000 less than the city pays currently.” Wouldn’t subsidies be even higher when this building ages?
Perhaps we invest $4 million-$6 million in renovations or sell/donate the Five Flags Center? If a larger arena is feasible, let the private sector fund it.