Convention Center For Balloon Tract?
Robert Neefus wrote this opinion piece that appeared in both the Times- Standard and Eureka Reporter today. He doesn't think a Home Depot would be a proper use for the now vacant Balloon Tract, on the waterfront in Eureka, and that more imagination is needed. His suggestion: a 10,000 seat convention/ conference center topped off by putting Eureka City Hall on top of it. That's not the first time we've heard a call for a convention center for Eureka but it's the first time I've heard someone suggest putting Eureka City Hall on top of one. Now that's imaginative!
Nope. First, City Hall is fine where it is. If it works, don't try and fix it; at least City Hall is already paid for. He makes at least one good point, though: We don't need more hotel rooms, we need more people to occupy hotel rooms. But his idea belongs with the sell- trinkets- to- tourists approach to improving the local economy and I've been more than just skeptical of that.
Would a convention center draw the kind of numbers to the county that Neefus suggests? I don't think many clubs, organizations or businesses would choose someplace like Humboldt for a convention. It's too far away from the rest of the world. I know that when the Libertarian Party of California has conventions they're held in either the northern or southern part of the state on alternating years. When the convention is held up north, and by north they usually mean Sacramento or Santa Clara counties, mostly just the people living within easy driving distance would show up. Same with when they held it in the south.
I don't think it would draw a big enough crowd to make it worthwhile. That's usually the case with these government subsidized sports stadiums and other projects taxpayers are talked into. They generally take more money in taxes than they bring in revenue. If a bunch of people want to voluntarily pitch in enough money to build a convention center, have at it. I'd love to see it. But this idea is way too risky for the use of taxpayer's money.