Friday, October 31, 2014

FW Weekly Has Me Doing Some More Fort Worth Multipurpose Arena Questioning

I found Ed Bass and Betsy Price in my mailbox again today. Along with a long list of co-horts calling themselves co-chairs, co-horting to co-chair a huge committee of committed Fort Worth citizens determined to convince Fort Worth voters to vote on Three Propositions to impose Three User Fees to pay for half of a new Fort Worth Multipurpose Arena.

I have opined previously that I think it is absurd to ask voters to vote on something as goofy as whether or not to charge a $1 or $2 fee per day for the use of a livestock stall in the new arena. Near as I can tell I am the only person who finds this to be ridiculous.


This week's Fort Worth Weekly's Metro section is all about the proposed arena and asks some questions that really need answering, in an  article titled Worth Questioning.

In the FW Weekly article I got an answer to a question I have opined about previously. As in, are we to think these Three Propositions are a Yes or No vote on the arena? As in if the voters vote NO, does that mean NO arena? The ballot verbiage implies that that is the case, that No means no. I blogged about the ballot verbiage after I voted.

Regarding if voting NO means no arena, the following paragraph in the FW Weekly article indicated NO does not mean no arena....

"At a recent public meeting to discuss the arena, a city official told the crowd that if the voters don’t approve the tax measures, the project will still move forward with alternate sources of funding."

The FW Weekly article addresses another arena issue, one I had wondered about but did not know enough about to the point I felt like opining about it.

The "it" to which I refer is the cost of the arena. $450,000. That is almost a half billion dollars.

The proposed arena only holds, at its max, 14,000 people when it is in concert mode, only 9,000 in rodeo mode.

That is a rather puny arena for a lot of money.

I figured maybe it was all those livestock stalls for rent for $1 which might be the reason for the high price tag, that it was the multipurpose aspect that raised the cost.

What perplexed me is similar public works of which I am aware cost less than the cost of this little arena. Like the new Seattle Seahawk Stadium and the Seattle Mariner Ballpark. The Seahawk Stadium may have cost in the half billion dollar zone, I don't remember for sure. But, these are big venues able to entertain way more people than Fort Worth's proposed little arena.

Plus, the Seattle venues are right next to each other, with well designed means to move traffic in and out of the area, including freeway connections directly to the venues, underground transit in the form of light rail and buses. And this in a busy downtown zone.

The FW Weekly article touches on the lack of transit planning for the new Fort Worth Arena. I have received several blog comments from people who live in the Arlington Heights neighborhood impacted by events held in the Stock Show zone who are not happy about the bad planning and who foresee traffic nightmares.

The congested West 7th mess in the same area is an example of how bad Fort Worth is at adding needed infrastructure when new development occurs.

The FW Weekly article also touches on the costs vs. size issue, and has better comparisons than my use of the Seattle venues....

"They question why the cost is so high compared to similar event centers. The cost of the arena even makes the Cowboys’ huge Arlington stadium look like a bargain. AT&T Stadium has almost 10 times the capacity of the proposed Fort Worth arena but only three times the price tag."

"The proposed arena would hold 14,000 people for concerts and about 9,000 for rodeos and sporting events. It will cost 20 percent more ($100 million) than a similar-sized one on the Las Vegas strip that has a 20,000-seat capacity. The Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan., can hold nearly 16,000 people but will cost only half of what’s being planned in Fort Worth. Construction began on the Vegas arena earlier this year; the Intrust arena was built in 2010."

In addition to mailers, advertisements and yard signs the Forward Fort Worth Partnership, PAC has also been airing radio ads. In those ads Betsy Price touts how this new little arena will bring back big concerts to Fort Worth. And big sporting events.

Why would a concert booker book his act in a small arena that can sell only 14,000 tickets when other venues in the D/FW Metroplex can hold concerts which can sell multiple times 14,000 tickets?

As for a sporting event. Same thing. The only sport I can think of which might be held in such a small arena would be basketball. I assume the basketball capacity would be about the same as that for a rodeo, as in 9,000 spectators.

Methinks this proposed new Fort Worth arena idea needs to be sent back to the drawing board to come up with a new plan which delivers much more bang for the buck, as in way more seats for the almost half billion dollars. And which addresses the traffic issues.

And let the voters actually vote on the thing, for gawdsakes, like grown up towns do.....


Steve A said...

The Kingdome cost $60 million. I do think it cost more than that to fix things when the roof tiles started falling down.

Betsy So Pricey said...

That ain't no ordinary list of "co-chairs." With that many " chairs" and so many impo-tant folks, it seems more like the first class section of the Titanic. Ah, Fort Worth, the small town that wants to act like a big city but doesn't seem to know how to go about it other than talk big and waste taxpayer dollars.