I couldn’t help but think about what the future might hold for Winston-Salem’s downtown stadium deal as I read this Uptown paper of record article on the uncertainty surrounding the Triple-A Charlotte Knights and their unhappy domestic circumstance down in Fort Mill:
The franchise left Charlotte in 1989 after its attendance had fallen to 1,700 fans per game. After a season in a temporary home, the then-Class AA team moved into the $12 million Knights Stadium, paid for by owner George Shinn and given to York County in exchange for $5.6 million worth of road and utility improvements around the stadium.
The Knights continued to maintain and operate the stadium, and York County received a portion of the money raised through ticket sales and parking. (Last year, the team paid the county $160,000.)
At the time Shinn and the county made their deal, there was talk of the stadium being a centerpiece of a complex of restaurants, offices and condos near Gold Hill Road along I-77. Shinn predicted average attendance of 7,000, and the team approached 6,000 after graduating to Class AAA and winning an International League championship in 1993.
Attendance, however, fell 21 percent the next four years, and the restaurants and condos never arrived.
The article also noted that “Knights Stadium, now almost 20 years old, is the oldest unrenovated facility in the International League.” Remember that that the City of Winston-Salem takes over ownership of the downtown after 25 years. Admittedly there are three major differences in the circumstances between Winston-Salem and Charlotte —- location, location and location. The urge to move the team to
downtown Uptown Charlotte is part of the nationwide movement to rehabilitate downtown areas with sports stadiums serving as anchors, thus making suburban venues like Knights Stadium obsolete.
Winston-Salem has its downtown site, but that doesn’t eliminate the possible scenarios that could evolve over the next 20 years. Declining attendance, a deteriorating stadium and lack of surrounding development —- a problem with Greensboro’s New Bridge Bank Park —- somehow cause a team owner’s eye to wander.
And taxpayers find themselves stuck with a stadium nobody wants to use. Some might accuse me of being a naysayer. I also readily admit that Greensboro’s stadium has so far been successful even without surrounding development. But this is a real scenario — because it’s happening for real down in Fort Mill.Read full article » 1 Comment »
The way Tasers have been in the news lately, someone else may have gushed all over the dude.Read full article » No Comments »
Greensboro City Council member Mike Barber says new City Manager Rashad Young is short on cred:
Barber — who pushed for the removal of the former city manager — said Young does not have the credentials for the gig and is not worth what council members have agreed to pay him.
The choice to hire Young seems to be pandering to special interest groups in an election year, Barber said last week.
“I believe some of those council members’ sensitivity to special interest groups has guided this process much more than what is best for Greensboro,” Barber said.
Unless something was lost in translation, Barber’s referring to the $175,000 salary that Young will draw when he officially takes over. But remember that Mayor Yvonne Johnson and council member Robbie Perkins —- according to the Rhino —– pushed for a salary of $210,000. I find it totally believable —–despite Perkins’ denial —– that the council hired Young with the blessing of the influential George Simkins PAC. But the huge salary offer indicates a payoff to make sure Young doesn’t buck any of the council’s PC initiatives. Not that he would anyway, based on what I read.
But —- as I noted last week —- Greensboro citizens can vote in a brand new mayor and council to work with Young. Then things would be really interesting.
Update: In the interest of being fair and balanced, I’ll report that I just talked to someone who says that $210k isn’t nearly enough to keep government employees 1) busy and 2) motivated.Read full article » 1 Comment »
OK, I recognize the good intentions, but forgive me for casting a skeptical eye on plans to donate half of the Wyndham Championship’s earnings — about $200k — to the Piedmont Triad Partnership for workforce development.
Why would be I skeptical? Because PTP has just about run through a $15 million federal WIRED grant, and the Triad’s still not a hotbed of job growth, or so I read in the paper. I realize Bryan Foundation president Jim Melvin didn’t exactly say PTP would get the money because “he isn’t interested in creating more bureaucracy than necessary.” But Melvin evidently contradicted himself when he said —according to the N&R —– a priority was “helping the Triad Partnership continue a work force preparedness effort after a federal grant runs out next year and, also, to promote this region worldwide.”
The Biz Journal’s Justin Catanoso also noted in this week’s column* that PTP’s staff “has doubled in size thanks to the WIRED money.” Last I looked, PTP has 16 people on staff, which means that the federal government created eight jobs for the partnership. I guess the argument is that the creation of those eight jobs would in turn create hundreds —if not thousands —- more jobs. But I can’t help but see this as another instance of government money providing jobs for bureaucrats first and foremost.
Bottom line is I can’t see how many jobs a mere $200k will create.
*Too cheap to fork over for a Biz Journal online subscription. My buddy gave me hell when I called him asked if he could possibly e-mail me the link to entire column.Read full article » No Comments »
Big-time developer and one-time mayoral candidate Milton Kern made a pretty incredible statement during a meeting between property owners and city staff regarding Greensboro’s proposed downtown compatibility manual:
Kern, a downtown property owner in favor of the Downtown Design Manual, said the purpose of the manual was to protect downtown property owners from a neighbor who wanted to do something “that is totally asinine to their property.”
He also said it was to protect the downtown from “unscrupulous investors.”
Kern also said the purpose of the Downtown Design Manual, and he was on the steering committee that wrote it, was to keep downtown Greensboro from looking like downtown Charlotte.
OK, so what’s wrong with downtown Charlotte? The city’s not my cup of tea, with all the high-density development driven by its embrace of smart growth principals. But —and I’m no expert —– the downtown area looks fine to me, for what it is.
Kern’s statement also ironic considering the fact that Greensboro’s city planners embrace smart growth principles that encourage the type of high-density development for which Charlotte is has become the standard. Looks to me like government not only wants to dictate how and where to live, but you also have to meet their aesthetic standards. And —as John Hammer notes time and again, government’s taste has a lot to be desired when you look at the Melvin Municipal Building, the ugliest building downtown.
I also like Hammer’s theory that the planning staff came up with this plan because they just don’t have much else to do these days.Read full article » 1 Comment »
The Raleigh TV station interviews Sen. Kay Hagan.
Hagan says she thinks some sort of healthcare reform will be in place by the end of the year, but still insists that whatever it is, it will have to be “deficit neutral.” Problem is there’s no such thing.Read full article » No Comments »
In its story on Guilford County Schools’ stakeout of Northern Guilford basketball players, the Rhino reports that fired head custodian Louis Lawson gas filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportinity Commission.
Lawson’s attorney says the EEOC will more than likely issue a right-to-sue letter.Read full article » 1 Comment »
Meet Rashad Young, the Dayton city manager who reportedly has been offered the head job here in Greensboro.
Yes, I speculated that the City Council would put on a dog-and-pony show of looking for candidates only to hire interim manager Bob Morgan. But I think it’s a very positive thing that an outsider with an objective has been brought in. I wish him well in the effort to get Greensboro city government running efficiently again.
But —- remembering the mess former manager Mitchell Johnson left behind —- his willingness to settle an EEOC suit in Dayton is a red flag.
And something’s definitely not right with the $30k bump in salary pressed by Mayor Yvonne Johnson and council member Robbie Perkins. The more cynical among us might suggest that they’re ready to start calling the shots after being led around by Mitch Johnson all those years and they’re paying for the new manager’s obeisance. Good for fellow council member Zack Matheny for calling them on it.
I also realize Young could be working for a much different mayor and council come November.Read full article » 2 Comments »
Here’s the N&O’s write-up of Courtland Smith’s 911 call before he was shot by an Archdale police officer along Interstate 85.
Yes, it also occurred to me while writing last night’s post that just because Smith said he had a gun didn’t necessarily mean he had one:
Despite Smith’s claim, it’s unclear whether he actually had a gun. Archdale Police Chief Darrell Gibbs said in an interview Wednesday that he is not aware of any gun being found on the scene, though his officers left all evidence untouched for the SBI investigation and had not searched Smith’s vehicle. Smith’s father, Pharr Smith, said in an interview Monday that his son didn’t own a gun.
Smith’s “polite tone” was also noted by the N&O, and friends say it was characteristic.Read full article » 1 Comment »
If nothing else, the lawsuit filed by the parents of two former Northern Guilford High School basketball sheds some light on Guilford County Schools’ investigative techniques:
Daylong stakeouts. Interviews with landlords and neighbors. Voting records. Utility bills. Even online videos. No scrap of information seemed too small for school system investigators, who ultimately ruled the Nighthawks used two ineligible players — a ruling that was later used to strip the team of its championship.
Note that GCS attorney Jill Wilson “declined to talk about the nature of the investigation.” I know I sound like a broken record here, but a lawsuit is probably the only the public is going to find out why Northern custodian Louis Lawson was fired.
Investigating athletics violations should be easier now that Superintendent Mo Green has set up a whistleblower hotline.Read full article » 4 Comments »