Lets do a bit of a thought exercise on what the opportunity cost of a new arena would be. I consider this a thought exercise because we must start with some unrealistic assumptions
- City Operating Budget is stable – (it is not)
- Capital Maintenance of roads is planned for – (it is not)
- Transit Plan is funded – (it is not)
- Staff needs are funded – (they are not)
- Affordable Housing can meet community needs – (it can not)
- Library capital needs are addressed – (they are not)
- Broadband & Smart-grid Infrastructure are in place – (they are not)
- Chateau Theater is funded – (it is not)
- Existing city supported non-profits are stable – (they are not)
I then wanted to compare the cost of building an arena to the cost of implementing our parks masterplan (another competing use of funds). The chart below does just that.
The first column shows the possible funding sources for the arena. The second column is simply the cost of the arena. The third column represents almost the entirety of the projects in the parks masterplan priorities. For good measure I added a few of my own projects.
Part of the reason why I think we need to look at all future investments is because while all the parks improvements are smaller I believe it is possible that the end results would be a higher quality of living in the community.
One last thought on the funding sources for the arena. $26.5 million would come from Rochester taxpayers. These are in red. Of the other $33.5 million I am skeptical that we really could get $10 million in naming rights. I certainly could be wrong on that, but we would see. When I see $5.5 million in “other” I can only assume 2 things. Either it will still come from taxpayers or else someone like a Mayo, who funded this study would kick in some capital. Lastly I am highly skeptical of the $18 million in private capital. If this is actually TIF captured from private development projects that is not actually private equity, it is more tax payer contributions.
Here is how much each of those park related items would cost. The total amount of the funded projects equals the same $60 million as an arena.