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UPDATE: IS IT TRUE that we incorrectly stated that Marsha Abell was a County Commissioner in 2009?…she was not installed until 2011 and was not in a position to influence the City of Evansville’s demolition of the Executive Inn?…we profoundly apologize to Marsha but must point out that then Commissioners Troy Tornatta and now Mayor Lloyd Winnecke did not join Commissioner Melcher in his call for the City to fulfill their obligations thus enabling the Weinzapfel Administration to set the stage for the acceleration of the losses at the Centre?
IS IT TRUE that Mayor Lloyd Winnecke was a county commissioner when the City of Evansville demolished the Executive Inn?… today Commissioner Abell issued an angry letter to City Council President Connie Robinson admonishing her for the forthcoming NO vote on Mayor Winnecke’s $37.5 Million giveaway for being the last nail in the Centre’s coffin?…the real question that needs to be answered after reading Abell’s scathing letter is why did Commissioner Winnecke in 2009 sit there like deer in the headlights and allow former Mayor Weinzapfel to tear down the Executive Inn and destroy the bridge to nowhere back in 2009? …Commissioner Steve Melcher in 2011 went on TV and objected to what the City did but Commissioners Winnecke and Troy Tornatta just sat there like bumps on a log and let former Mayor Weinzapfel lay waste to the Centre’s business model.
IS IT TRUE Abell lays it all on the line threatening to mothball the Centre, the Old Courthouse, and the Coliseum over continued operating losses?…she certainly makes a practical point and it is a shame that it took the rejection of an impractical spending deal to get her to speak up?…if the Marsha Abell of today had been in a position to join Commissioner Melcher in 2009 to demand that the City of Evansville abide by its legally binding agreement to keep the Executive Inn open until it was replaced then Evansville may not be in the turmoil that it is today over losses and the lack of a hotel?… appeasement did not work for the late British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in the face of a strong man with ambition and it did not work for the Vanderburgh County Commissioners in 2009?…Troy and Lloyd should have joined hands in a Nancy Reagan moment in 2009 and “JUST SAID NO” when the City of Evansville attacked the business model of the Centre that was UNDER THEIR STEWARDSHIP at that time?
IS IT TRUE that the Centre loses about $800,000 per year and pays no property taxes?…if the Centre was in private hand it would be paying something like $600,000 per year in property taxes?…if the Centre could be placed in private hands it would create $1.4 Million per year of positive cash flow for local government?…the combination of the Centre, the lot at the corner of Walnut and MLK should be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $37.5 Million?…as HCW is now open to negotiating the downtown hotel project, the City County Observer would like to propose the following compromise:
1. Go forward with the entire construction project as Mayor Winnecke and HCW have already agreed to.
2. Modify the incentives to provide the land, any basic infrastructure, and the Centre to HCW as an incentive to do this project.
3. If HCW wants them and will agree to operate them for 25 years at zero cost to local government throw the Old Courthouse and the Coliseum into the deal as a closing tip but put them on the tax rolls.
IS IT TRUE this is a scenario that everyone wins and the debt of the people of Evansville does not increase by a dime?…the supporters get everything they want?…HCW gets the added benefit of the profits of the convention business?…three losing assets that local government has proven they can’t run are placed onto the tax rolls?…EVERYONE WINS?
IS IT TRUE we made this suggestion back on August 6th?