Caution Advised On ANY Stadium Plans

Two GUARDIAN readers have sent us a NY TIMES LINK to a national story about stadium construction.

It’s worth a read in light of the plans (apparently dormant) for a new HAWKS STADIUM in either Boise or Meridian and a major expansion of Boise State’s Football palace. It all boils down to money and no matter how you cut it, it ends up being public money–regardless of how the deals get structured behind urban renewal, booster associations, etc. We can probably toss in the ongoing convention center dream as well.

The GUARDIAN doesn’t really oppose any of the projects or their intent, but the TIMES piece points out the dangers in jumping on the “fan bandwagon.”…and you can’t be winners forever, just look at the Hawks.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Since you brought it up in a round about way, I’m wondering if The Guardian will be seeking a halt to the proposed addition to Bronco Stadium until authorization for the expenditure goes to a public vote. As I understand the scenario, building it will require the use of public money — in some cases donated to BSU (the state) and in others revenue generated through ticket sales and other fees. Since money is collected over a period of time, the state will incur long-term debt. How is this different than building a parking garage and collecting money over the long haul to pay for it? Your thoughts, BG?

    EDITOR NOTE–Different laws apply. The NYT piece showed how easy it is to get into debt and never get out. We urged CAUTION and stand by that. Given current W-L record at BSU, fans would approve ANY amount for a new stadium. A side note: In Pocatello those ISU losers probably wouldn’t have as much enthusiasm for debt if asked. Folks DID vote to sell their public hospital in Pocatello and now have a state of the art medical facility that PAYS $1.6 million in taxes.

  2. key phrase “Given the current W-L record…”

  3. No argument that winners get more support than losers. (And I’m not sure who would vote on a stadium bond for BSU — not just the fans I would think). I’m curious what the “different law” is to which you are referring. Wouldn’t using a bond to construct an expansion of Bronco Stadium be the same as any other bond that obligates government (the state’s taxpayers) to pay for it should BSU start losing and default occur? Or is the state not bound by the same law as other government entities?

    EDITOR NOTE–Article VIII, Sec 3 applies to “subdivisions of state government,” i.e. city, county, taxing districts etc. The State has a “building fund” that finances facilities at the state level.

  4. OK. Guess I had missed seeing where the state will be putting up the $30 million to expand Bronco Stadium out of the money that accumulates in the building fund you mention. I’m not sure, however, that those in North, Central and Eastern Idaho who pay $15 into the fund when they file their taxes will appreciate that. On the other hand, I do appreciate your clarification. Thanks.

  5. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe we have only “sold out” the most recent expansion of Bronco stadium a couple of times in the last year. What makes us believe we will sell another 17-19,000 seats?
    At some point we have to realize that no matter how good the Broncos are,(and they are great!)we simply do not have the population base to compete in stadium size with big city teams.

  6. I have no issue with private donations being used to expand Bronco Stadium.

    Hawks Stadium is a totally different ball of wax, however. When they first moved into the current location from Wigle Field, they were very good and drawing big crowds. Those crowds eventually dwindled to the point that the current stadium took out seats. The crowds now are pretty marginal. Nothing like, for example, Spokane. The idea we might become a AAA team is a total pipe dream–an obvious PR stunt with nothing to back it up. I am skeptical to the max.

  7. This is a hoot that even in conservative Idaho tax dollars could be spent on stadiums. So does this mean that the Vikings will be moving to Boise since the politicians won’t spend the $$$ to build the team a new stadium? (If you saw the game last night on NBC you are probably saying, “who cares”?) I need to learn if the Hawks are a ladies basketball team or what? So how’s the LRT project coming? I will return to your site to get update on the stadium plans. Here’s another reason to get back to Boise: stadium, convention center, LRT. Go Boise!!!

  8. serendipity
    Sep 12, 2010, 9:35 am

    Before tons more $$$$$$ are spent on BSU’s stadium, we need to wait until the aftermath of Coach leaving for higher pay elsewhere– and what would follow after that. While I’m a Bronco fan, nothing lasts forever that isn’t funded by the big bux attracted by professional sports.

  9. Rod in SE Boise
    Sep 13, 2010, 7:47 pm

    When money is donated to BSU, it does become government money, but remains different and should be considered separate from tax dollars, and from that it follows that there might be different rules for spending it. Hire a team of scoundrels, I mean lawyers, to figure that out.

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