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My answer to Mesquite’s “Tent” Debacle
Posting Date: 09/16/2011

By Barb King

Mesquite Business Entrepreneur

With the support of many of my friends and with approval of the Mesquite Writers’ Group, I am going ahead with my writing assignment and giving my opinion of what should be done with the 3.7 Million Dollar “Tent” Project.First, let me back-up and remind everyone that our city has refused quite a few interesting projects that would have enhanced our financial situation and our civic-minded community.

I remember our city fathers turning down a large revenue-producing shrimp farm proposal, and now that $6 million venture sits in North Las Vegas providing much tax revenue and a dozen jobs. I also heard of a possible company like Del-Monte Canning Company coming here. That never came to be either. The folks who wanted to put in a water park were turned down and then still tried their best to hold on to a small roller skating venue in a most difficult location for them. An expensive police building and fire company were located in out-of-the-way places, too. Mistakes have been made. Thank goodness a new airport development is out of the question right now.

Recently we’ve committed $100,000 to NCS (Nevada Community Solutions) to design an amphitheatre, which, gratefully, has been put on hold for the future. It isn’t even the completed version that our town deserves to have. We have venues now that are never filled to capacity for entertainment. Wake up, Mesquite ! We are in a time of recession. Our country is in a mess. We are not ready in Mesquite to make huge spending mistakes. Just because we are being given a $1 Million gift by NCS to get started does not mean we have to approve a new tent covering three new soccer fields, or something similar to that. The group doing the pushing wants us to acquire land up by the MSEC (Mesquite Sports and Events Complex) so they can develop sport-like facilities for Mesquite. The way I understand it, we’ll owe them several million dollars after using the first million dollar “gift“.

More soccer fields ? What about the five mostly unused fields that are up there now ? It is a stupid idea and the people should be revolting. I think our present softball and baseball fields get the best use for local sports. I do favor using the $1 million dollar funds given by the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act for the multi-use trail system that would stretch from the sports complex to the top of the mesa or even from my suggested location noted below, giving visitors a beautiful bird’s-eye view of the Virgin Valley. I think many hiking visitors would want to use that.

According to accounts that I have read and listened to in the local papers and magazines, on websites and by attending the local meeting at City Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 6 of which about 40 people showed-up, the support for this project is not yet finalized. With about 50 people attending a similar meeting at the fire company previously, that makes less than 100 folks out of a whole city of 15,000 to 20,000 (when the snow birds are back) who have participated with interest. Along with a survey that the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce sent out to business, it is said that there is about 75% support for the project. What ?

I suspect that, along with my friends and with all 25% of the people who are quoted as not speaking-up or showing up, more than half of this town would vote against this project. Of course casinos, hotels, restaurants and golf courses are for it because any visitors to town use those things and bring in more business. We are a city of more senior people than any other age. These games are for young people, so I doubt that many seniors are very interested in attending soccer games.

It is reported that some of the new city council members are opposed to this project. Except for George Rapson speaking up in favor, neither the mayor nor any other councilman spoke at the Sept. 6 meeting. Even the NCS group (Parda) had no one there. What does that mean ? Our mayor has said that more traffic on I-15 brings travel and tourism here and that means referrals to the hotels, restaurants and recreation. Golf is, of course, the biggest draw in sports. Our location is superb, but we must be unique and affordable.

Estimates given at the meeting of yearly revenues of the “tent project” run from

a maximum of $5 Million to a minimum of $715,000. I doubt very much that we could reach the max until many years down the road. Even the minimum is doubtful in the first year. We need to have contracts signed in writing of commitments in advance from teams that they will come here. You can’t go on just speculation.

Also funds that we would expect to get are not sure anymore in these times. Money has been put on hold by cities, counties, states and the federal government. Grants and other “free” monies are being cut. It’s no telling how far “down the line” any would be released for our use. The fields sitting up by Sun City are pathetic…just sitting there collecting dust and getting windblown. And the Solstice RV Park has barely five motor homes using its facility most of the year, at least the times when I have driven by. Land and buildings are sitting around all over town empty and unused. How sad !

My suggestions are “for our people”. These are the ones we can count on now. Let’s give them more fun stuff to do than is here now. Noise and lights should not be a late night problem for our neighbors. The location I am asking to be considered is closer to town and is on the very edge of the industrial park with a fire company next door.

I am referring to two beautifully designed new steel buildings of 40,000 sq. ft. each (total 80,000 sq. ft.) with 24 foot high walls which are sitting vacant just past the Ford Dealer on the right. (The aforementioned “tent” covers 86,000 sq, ft. and is ugly.) These buildings are finished on the outside, have water and power, pre-plumbed sewer and grease trap pipes, a 73,000 sq. ft. outside storage yard, plenty of parking, overhead garage doors that will accommodate tractor trailers or buses, and with second stories that can be developed, and a lovely atrium or indoor-outdoor area between them that can be covered to increase the usage space to more than 120,000 sq. ft. It can be used year-round and can bring in lots of vendors for income and provide many new jobs.

This is what I envision. I can see a roller skating rink, an ice skating rink, a miniature golf course, arcades, bumper cars and rides for kiddies, pool tables, snack areas like you see at food courts in malls, a tennis court, a huge ballroom floor for dancing, shuffleboard, a stage to bring in bands and other “big” entertainment, convention space with kitchen and restroom facilities, etc. Local families and out-of-towners would flock here to spend money. Right now, Mesquite has nothing for them to do. Once the new I-15 Exit 118 is installed, I can see billboards and other signage as a big bonus bringing in visitors to this huge civic center. Even our city buses could extend their routes to bring people here. Right now the buildings sit in a canyon with dirt piled high on each side, protecting them partially from the elements. I understand the city owns the land next to it, for future expansion purposes. I am also in favor of putting in a large water park.

The possibilities are endless and I suggest that everyone look in on the specifics of acquiring this entire property. This could get us started onto something wonderful. The builder has a lease purchase and a lease agreement starting as low as $1.00 per sq. ft. He has done all kinds of surveys and has come up with details of revenues that could be produced. Look at this site for many pages of information:

www.dmcplaza.com

Other projects that I thought of were: putting a big ice skating rink/roller skating rink in the Wal-Greens store and acquiring either the Oasis Hotel or The Mesquite Star and starting all over again renovating the land they sit on.

It makes me sad that we built this huge city-owned industrial park and the buildings sit there empty. There are less than a handful of businesses in them.

People, remember, we cannot vote on this project ourselves, but we must pass on our feelings and desires to our mayor and council to get the job done. They are the ones who will be voting. Vote DOWN the “tent” and start looking at these possibilities. The people with brains sharper than mine should handle the negotiations and get the best deal possible. I am so excited. It accomplishes so many things that we need. And if these ideas lie further into the future, that is ok, too.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

 

Commentary
  • Posted Date: 09/15/2011
    The one goal that you should have is to make sure you have the facts. There are too many articles that are perpetuating rumors and inaccuracies. The Shrimp Farm just opened in NLV. It took them over five years. They wanted all kinds of freebies and the water was an issue. It is not proven entity yet and they are operating on a shoestring, their operation is in a tent in NLV. There have been so many rumors of who did not come to Mesquite. The Del Monte canning is a new one to me. There was another, Kohler was coming to town to make toilets, but that was not going to happen. In both cases, Mesquite does not have the proper resources. With Del Monte, it would require too much water and for Kohler we need natural gas which is not available. The Water Park people never had the financial ability to even buy the land, let allow construct the park. They could not make a success out of a small roller rink in rented space. Just because someone has an idea, the City cannot make it happen. The DMC Plaza it a poorly conceived design. They may be modern on the outside, but they only offer multiple small spaces. Each building is divided into eight parcels. This is how it is listed in the County Assessors Website. Also, the buildings are not zoned and could not get conditional use permits for your suggested use because of parking and access. Stating opinion is basically without rules, but it is the responsibility of the writer to verify the facts if used to substantiate the opinion.
    By: Patrick
  •  
  • Posted Date: 09/15/2011
    The truth is the Mesquite Republicans and Mesquite Tea Party are being disingenuous. This project is nothing more than a big money land grab and a tax payer ripoff. Repubs and T.P say they want to cut spending and smaller government. Where the heck are you all? This is a boondoggle of waste and mismanagement. Come on fellow Repubs and Tea Party, stop cowering and speak out. NO MORE SPENDING!! Only two councilmen are for this deal, Rapson and Gustaveson (naturally, he has voted FOR every failed project that has come along) and both with have to apologize when this thing becomes an albatross at the public troth. All Repubs and T.P. email your council men and tell them no to this fiasco. If you really want no more government spending, start here.
    By: Tom
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  • Posted Date: 09/15/2011
    Great article, barb. Don't let them back you down. You are absolutely right.
    By: Jenni
  •  
  • Posted Date: 09/15/2011

    Barb,

    You're wrong on the Sports Tent. This is an attractive project that our city can implement for a great price. A high estimate of the operating costs is $60,000 with a projected low on the revenue at $715,000. At worst case, the project would payoff in under 6 years with these figures and an estimated 4 million construction cost.

    There is no question that we owe NCS something of substance. We can return their 6 million, or we can produce an attractive amenity that will benefit their long-term business plan. The Sports Tent not only fulfills this obligation, it also benefits businesses, citizens, and the future growth of the reigon. We have a true win-win opportunity. The Sports Tent will be a unique facility available to the public. The year-round nature means we will be able to host events in months where temperatures typically scare visitors away. This is a venue that won't have alternatives or competition within 500 miles. Bryan Dangerfield was spot on when he said "If we don't do this, someone else will," at a recent Economic Development Commission Meeting.

    This isn't out of control government spending, but rather a fiscally responsible investment in the future of our community.


    By: David West
  •  
  • Posted Date: 09/15/2011
    Mr. West missed the point completely. We want less government spending. This is not an investment in OUR future, it is an investment in NCS future. We have buildings available, we have can use what we have and send NCS down the road. The proof of the pudding is how hard NCS is fighting to get what Mesquite has. Sawyer and Dangerfield are way out of line as public employees. Not to mention the fact that this pipe dream is to be run by volunteers. Mr. West should go back and look at the TRUE costs of running this thing. That has not been discussed whatsoever. Details, Mr. West, details.
    By: Randy
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  • Posted Date: 09/15/2011
    We should have recalled Gustaveson when we had the chance. Here he goes again with big government spending.
    By: Sam
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  • Posted Date: 09/16/2011
    Good article Barb, Randy and Sam have it spot on.
    By: Barlie
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  • Posted Date: 09/18/2011
    Has any citizen seen the actual construction costs (steel, fabric, restrooms, sound system, heating/air conditioning, etc.) or the actual operating costs (including maintenance), or FIRM commitments by those we are told will use the facilities, or how many actual Mesquite construction jobs will be there, or how many Mesquite jobs will be created through the operation of the "tent," or what use NCS has for its land? These are only a few of the concrete questions that I have. Why is NCS so secretive? If this is such a "great" deal for Mesquite, tell us the rest of the story!
    By: judy
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