Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Power & Light District to cost taxpayers until Howl at the Moon opens on Mars

Posted By on Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 1:05 PM

click to enlarge Making downtown a gathering place will not come cheaply.
  • Making downtown a gathering place will not come cheaply.

Sensible people at City Hall have looked at the numbers and determined that the decision to build a funporium in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, will ding taxpayers for years to come.

The news/non-news in today's Kansas City Star is that the Power & Light District will require an ongoing $10 million to $15 million annual subsidy. The city issued $295 million in bonds for the project in 2006 in the hope that visitors would buy enough burgers and vodka tonics to pay off the creditors. But faulty assumptions and the economic downtown have trashed that theory.

City Manager Troy Schulte says he believes that Power & Light District will never be able to support itself. He encourages taxpayers to come on down and enjoy the district, "because you're paying for it."

Two of the ribbon cutters, meanwhile, accuse Schulte -- the city's former chief budget officer -- of being a Debbie Downer.

Former Mayor Kay Barnes, who worked to make the Power & Light District happen, told Star writer Kevin Collison that reality may come into line with the projections down the road. The man Schulte replaced, Wayne Cauthen, thinks city officials should speak to the people who put the expectations together, presumably to give them a chance to be wrong twice.

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