Thursday, April 23, 2009

Westfield Wants To Be Like Indy: Sports Happy And Broke

Reading this news today out of Westfield, the only word that came to mind was "insanity." The IBJ's Cory Schouten explains the City's $1.5 billion plan to become the "Family Sports Capital of America":

The mayor of Westfield announced plans this morning to build a $60 million youth sports complex with a 4,000-seat multipurpose outdoor stadium, indoor sports facilities, and fields for baseball, soccer, softball and lacrosse.

The sports facilities would anchor a 1,500-acre development by locally based Estridge Co. along Towne Road between 146th and 161st streets. The project, called Symphony, already features the Wood Wind Golf Club.

All told, the sports component and clusters of retail, hotels and residential development around it would require a public and private investment of $1.5 billion, Mayor Andy Cook said . . .

“This is a public-private venture which will clearly put Westfield on the map,” Cook said in a statement. “We are in the process of working on creative funding mechanisms as we truly believe that we are bringing forth a tourism component benefitting the entire state.”

The mayor is lobbying state officials to create a tax-increment finance district so the city can collect tax revenue to pay for the public portion of the project. The city also is working with the Hamilton County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to create a Family Sports Advisory Commission that would coordinate the development.

What is it about people in Indiana who think that the whole world revolves around sports? Our major industries are shutting down, wages are falling, our schools are deteriorating and all our leaders can think about is building bigger and better sports facilities when we can't even afford the ones we've already built. I saw Mayor Andy Cook being interviewed by WTHR. He said there were only two other places in the country with similar sports-themed communites like the one he is planning for Westfield and one of them was Disney World. Why doesn't he just rename his city "Fantasy Island" and maybe all of his dreams will come true.


Downtown Indy said...

Those who do not learn from history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

Paul K. Ogden said...

1.5 billion dollars? Has the Mayor of Westfield lost his mind?

guy77money said...

That's why these people are in the government sector. They have no clue when it comes to running a sucessful business. Sports facilities are profitable but not to the tune of 60 million to a billon of public and private dollars. Lets hope the people of Westfield come to their senses and say no to this latest insane proposal. I would doubt that any bank or brokerage house would help finance this pipe dream. Of course there is the Indy bond bank! ;)

Citizen Kane said...

This happens because our elected officials are bereft of ideas. They are loath to listen to any alternative voices out there about developing a community - organically by following policies that encourage growth to happen or to stop doing the things that discourage real economic growth. All they know how to do is borrow money and pretend to accomplish things by pointing at the oversize playlands that taxpayer money built.

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with just having things stay the same? Seriously, why is there is need for more and more and more and more? We have plenty of stuff already, we do big government types want even more?

Paul K. Ogden said...

I just figured it out that this project would cost about $123,000 per resident of Westfield.

Westfield's population is only about 12,230.

Mike Kole said...

Actually, Andy Cook does run a business, or at least has: Hoosier Tradewinds, the trucking company.

I think that makes this announcement even more bewildering.

Yet another pie-in-the-sky tax happy Republican.