The Greater Boise Auditorium District has $13,000,000 burning a hole in its collective pocket–garnered from a hotel room tax on visitors to the City of Trees.
With the May 21 board election approaching, candidates are lining up with ideas on how to spend the cash. Perhaps we need a group dedicated to to doing nothing. A “Do Nothing” party could be a unifying factor in the community. Currently one group–Democrats supporting Mayor Dave Bieter–is leaning toward a downtown baseball park.
Combine that hotel tax revenue source with the $13 million-plus cash reserves currently held by the GBAD boys and girls and you have a sock full of public money just waiting to be spent on a $30,000,000 ball park that Boise residents overwhelmingly say should not be publicly funded. Furthermore, citizens will not have a vote on how any of the funds are spent, but they can vote for candidates May 21. (See link below to previous post)
The other group–more conservative business types– wants to expand the current Centre on The Grove either upward or on land the GBAD owns near the entrance to I-184.
Both camps claim their ideas will promote economic prosperity. If that is true, it would logically spell financial ruin for the businesses near the current Boise Hawks field on Glenwood. We doubt a move would be a disaster and we also doubt a downtown ball park would be a major asset either. The hotel industry has viewed the room tax as a fund dedicated to furthering their industry–specifically for downtown hotels. If The Grove is any example, downtown is just too crowded. They block streets regularly for events and the parking is cramped and bound to get worse with Trader Joe’s filling a lot at Capitol and Front.
We would like to see that room tax money go toward improving and maintaining things like Table Rock viewpoint, the Boise Depot, and “way finding” signs to direct tourists to points of interest from major intersections. Boise is simply not a tourist friendly destination, despite plenty of potential attractions.
The Daily Paper’s Sven Berg did a wrap up Friday on Candidates and their views–at least those who would talk.
The GUARDIAN posted a CANDIDATE ROUND UP in March.
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