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A word from our new correspondent, Mark Breton:
OK, let me get this straight. We can't afford our kids' educations, but we can put the city on the hook for another "shiny big thang" like a convention center.
The project just seems like a bad idea on principle. I'm a capitalist, so according to my principles, the businesses that want it ought to build it. Period. They can split ownership by way of privately held stock, and if the city can make money off the deal, the city should buy some stock so it has a seat at the table. There can be a governing board and central office for scheduling.
But why the people pushing this think that Nashville needs to be Atlanta on the Cumberland is beyond me, and beyond good sense. Yes, we all miss NAMM, especially we weekend-warrior musicians that will scam any swag we can get, but this is the worst time for this. The city doesn't have a predictable flow of tourist income, so they get to live on a budget that floats, just like I do. This encourages being thrifty in a way the federal government never has been. Let's think thrifty.
This convention center will not be the tax revenue generating project it's purported to be, the timing sucks, and it's too expensive for public funds, like the Colosseum deal we citizens got shafted with. Look at what the Sounds did. They made it better by focusing on what the customer wanted, privately. If Nashville wants to be on the map for something other than the music business, then its leaders need to think about doing something truly different.
Why compete when we can innovate? Come on people, think! Maybe we need to send the mayor a model convention center made out of teabags.