I'd like to provide somewhat of a rebuttal to your editorial on the proposed indoor sports facility.
There are many logical and thoughtful arguments for building near existing venues. I've heard many residents of the Sun City area argue against the location because it would be near their homes. The land purchased for a new library is often cited as an alternative, but this suggestion is just a case of selective amnesia. These proposals ignore the fact that the library site is located closer to homes than the regional park. The proposed layout places the building at least 250 yards (2.5 football fields) away from any existing or future homes. Let's also not forget there is no space for adequate parking in the downtown area.
The proposed site adjacent to existing fields is already owned by the city. If we were to select and purchase alternative land, costs would skyrocket.
RDA funds have very specific spending requirements. We will pay steep financial penalties if those dollars are not spent in the right way within the allotted time. Because of the bond restrictions, we have figuratively already invested the money. The only question is if we will receive a positive return.
NCS has created jobs here in Mesquite. Yes, they are only working with a skeleton staff right now, but they have employed local design and engineering firms in drafting their proposals. Unlike several other defunct projects, we owe NCS money, not
the other way around. Desert Falls and Solstice continually asked for handouts from the city coffers. NCS paid us earnest money and asked how can we make Mesquite more attractive to visitors? Why should we begrudge them for expecting an eventual return on their investment?
We shouldn't be glorifying Mesquite Gaming in any way. A local magazine catering to visitors was recently told they could no longer distribute in rooms at the Casablanca or Virgin River. Why? Because the management at Mesquite Gaming feels the pie isn't big enough to share. Staff from the local casinos hold seats on the City's Economic Development Commission but rarely attend these meetings. Their objective is to bring visitors to their property, and keep them in a closed environment for the entire stay.
Again, NCS paid money to the City that was deposited in the General fund. If we don't reciprocate based on the original and amended agreement, we must return their investment with interest.
Accusing staff of neglecting local business owners ignores the business community's overwhelming support for this project. I've yet to see a single owner speak to discourage city staff in one of the many public meetings that have been held.
The clock is ticking on using RDA funds without penalty. We have a proposal on the table that offers excellent value and addresses our area's biggest dilemma - oppressive summer heat. We should proceed cautiously, but time is running out for our local businesses. A failure to act decisively will be the death warrant for the local economy.