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Ilitch representatives have their say about the Wings follow-on rink’s public funding

The Michigan Chronicle's Donald James did something interesting on Wednesday, and his work's worth a stand alone-entry because he chose to speak with the Ilitches' representatives regarding their take on the public funds which will help build the Red Wings' follow-on rink project:

“There will be no taxpayers dollars going to fund this project,” said Susan Durgan, director of communication for Olympia Development of Michigan. “The state is actually funding the majority of the public sector piece of the project through economic development funds that have been available for years. The money can only be used for economic development.

“The city of Detroit in bankruptcy is very unfortunate, but it’s drawing a line in the sand, basically,” Durgan said. “However, the city must move on. This is a ‘move on’ project. This is something that will create revenue.”

According to John Hahn, vice president of communications for Ilitch Holdings, Inc:

“What the studies show is that a stand alone sports arena does not work,” said Hahn. “However, we don’t want to just build an arena. That’s why it is important for us to build this entire ancillary district, which often gets lost in the translation.”

Both Durgan and Hahn said the proposed arena and surrounding complex of residential, retail, office and commercials facilities will mean jobs for Detroiters, something mandated by Ilitch. Of the 8,300 expected construction jobs associated with completing the project, 51 percent of the jobs must go to Detroiters under an executive order. Additionally, 30 percent of the construction budget must go to Detroit businesses.

“To meet the 51 percent, we have a job outreach plan that we will be working on to implement,” Durgan said. “It’s important to Mr. Ilitch that Detroiters are included in the job opportunities associated with this project. There are some viable plans to establish a workforce development and training program to help prepare Detroiters for the needed work.”

Durgan also pointed out that there will be numerous community outreach initiatives designed to mentor local businesses and empower Detroiters through jobs, training, education and other means, all of which will positively impact adults, youth, schools and families.

Continued

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“There will be no taxpayers dollars going to fund this project,” said Susan Durgan, director of communication for Olympia Development of Michigan. “The state is actually funding…

Yes, because ‘the State’ has some reservoir of funds derived from a source besides tax dollars?  Maybe a lemonade stand they’ve run for 100 years?  A State-owned and operated distillery, perchance?  No?  Ah.

“However, the city must move on. This is a ‘move on’ project. This is something that will create revenue.”

That’s true, although intentionally misleading.  The point is whether this would create a) ADDITIONAL revenue and then b) enough ADITIONAL revenue so that the taxes collected from said revenue positively offset the losses incurred from directing future and existing revenue towards the project.

Considering the Wings already play in Detroit I have a hard time finding a rational scenario where point A is met, let alone point B.

“What the studies show is that a stand alone sports arena does not work,” said Hahn.

Good to know, Hahn.  Might have been a bit more timely to bring up that little tidbit before you and Illtch Holdings snagged 115 mil in taxes for Comerica Park, though.

Maybe there’s just new studies though.  That must be it.  New information not available to anyone back in the days of yore when Comerica was under consideration.

Durgan also pointed out that there will be numerous community outreach initiatives designed to mentor local businesses and empower Detroiters through jobs, training, education and other means, all of which will positively impact adults, youth, schools and families.

Which, obviously, could still have been done sans half a billion dollars worth of spending on a new stadium.

Oh well, I’m sure Detroiters will feel plenty ‘outreached’ by the time the dust settles on this one.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/12/13 at 04:39 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Their words. I thought it was important to get the Ilitch point of view out there mostly because we haven’t heard the Ilitch point of view. I don’t necessarily agree with it either, but now it’s actually public.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/12/13 at 04:54 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The money can only be used for economic development.

The money can only be used for economic development.

The money can only be used for economic development.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/12/13 at 09:10 AM ET

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First, let me say that the funds can only be used for economic development.
The only reason I see this as remotely appropriate use of funds is that nobody else asked for them first.
I greatly disagree that this is really an appropriate use of tax money. It’s been shown by responsible economists that sports franchises do not bring in the money to cover arena costs on general. I’m sure the return drops even more when you consider the fact that this is not a new arena, but is instead a rebuild.

Posted by teldar on 12/12/13 at 11:27 AM ET

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Posted by J.J. from Kansas

Maybe a bigger font?  Or something that blinks with multiple colors?

Posted by maltby18 on 12/12/13 at 11:33 AM ET

Rumbear's avatar

I agree with JJ.

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, hanging with Dan Cleary.... on 12/12/13 at 12:43 PM ET

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I think everyone can agree the Wings need a new arena for the long term health of the franchise. Downtown Detroit seems to be the best location for the economic development of the city. How it is done, is another matter.

Posted by timbits on 12/12/13 at 03:08 PM ET

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he money can only be used for economic development.

The money can only be used for economic development.

The money can only be used for economic development.

What was that again? I don’t think you said it loud enough to be heard in Indiana.

Maybe a bigger font?  Or something that blinks with multiple colors?

Flashing lights help people find the relevant information.

That’s true, although intentionally misleading.

Only to the point that there was a continued quote stating president and a pro-forma explaining the business plan and tactics. But I can put it by simply saying, if you were opening a restaurant and you wanted it to be near a place that could guarantee a lot of people willing to spend a lot of money on entertainment would you rather put your restaurant in a new building that is certain to be connected appropriately to utilities and built to a standard the ensures life safety to your customers and staff OR would you rather have to rent a run down, neglected building built to a level of safety of about 50 years ago on a street with broken sidewalks and no street lights?

I’m sure I know which the responsible business owner would choose. But hey, you let us all know how it does work out.

Which, obviously, could still have been done sans half a billion dollars worth of spending on a new stadium.

Except, where are those jobs? Where? Please, go show all those out of work Detroiters where those jobs are in their city. Please. Do it.

Oh well, I’m sure Detroiters will feel plenty ‘outreached’ by the time the dust settles on this one.

The only Detroiter that can be guaranteed plenty of outreach right now is Sammy. And you know who is giving him that special outreach. wink

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 12/12/13 at 07:23 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.