Friday, September 30, 2005

A Louisville Arena: Can We Afford It?

Louisville does not need an arena, especially one built at the public expense. What we need are good-paying jobs, and that means attracting growth ­oriented companies. Building an arena won't do that. Providing a better educated workforce will, and that means building a quality education system instead; that means put Louisville and Kentucky in the top 25 academically, not the bottom five. If you want jobs; if you want industry, give businesses something they need most---qualified people, not a money pit. That means investing in education, and especially in trade schools. Good academics attract businesses and that generates tax revenues.

You know, we've tried countless soccer teams, which have all failed. We've gone through two very minor league baseball teams (and at the expense of a new stadium) and still attendance isn't all that great. Even the polo games have failed. We've done arena footfall. It turned out to be a flop. We already have a good facility already at the Fairgrounds. For about 1/3 of the money, it can be enlarged and updated. Of course, all this begs the question, for whom? Are we going through all this expense for the University of Louisville? If so, then perhaps they need to look to alumni, increased tuition, and private sponsorship to finance a new stadium, and not the local taxpayer, who may or may not attend.

If the powers that (wanna) be think that by building some white elephant of stadium, a top notch team will come begging, forget it! This is a college basketball town, and will always be one. Kentucky is a college basketball state, and that will never change. No new stadium, and no amount of hype is going to change that. What we need is serious leadership that will be focused on bring jobs--union and non-union--to Louisville and to Kentucky, and that means a better educated and trained workforce. No matter how much the power brokers try to cram this arena down our throats, we need to let them know in no uncertain terms that we want jobs, not "bread and circuses". This is a case of building it but they still won't come.

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