This might be the second most controversial section of the whole website. We have to talk about the U District. Again, this is not about showing people up or taking away anyone’s fun. It is about maximizing tax revenue via maximizing the tourism experience.
- Where is the data collection??
Sadly, Oneida County Tourism would rather hold pub crawls that nobody goes on over collecting tourist data. We have needed this data, in order to make better decisions, for a long time. Instead of collecting the data and looking to how other people solve problems, that silly “We have too much pride in Oneida County to borrow someone else’s solution” rears its ugly head.
We need an intertwined system of maps, kiosks, and cellphone apps. Until then, we are just guessing. It should be noted that not only is Oneida County Tourism not interested in helping out, the organization is definitively anti-Utica. We will not miss them.
Are we paying attention to traffic and other interactions?? Doesn’t look like it. Not every tourist is the same. Shoulder season tourists are completely different than peak season tourists. The U design does not seem to accommodate for that. Some projects need more spacing. The traffic designs need more study.
- County wide design standards group
Call it a Committee, call it an Authority, call it whatever you want. The Design Guidelines at Harbor Point, which need some tweaking, should be the same guidelines in the U District. In fact, there should be county wide guidelines for tourism based on historical precepts. Tourists prefer predictability which leads to unplanned memory creation.
A hallmark of this group should be transparency. The current handling of the parking garage has been embarrassing. We need more charrettes and more town halls, not less. We need more narrative and more foundation instead of just sticking things into empty lots.
- Do we need to disrupt the gun range?
No. That does not mean we want the gun range. It is totally out of place and will scare away families. Weapons of any kind have no place around non weapons tourism. There are plenty of spots on 233 in Westmoreland where a gun range would be perfect.
The reason we need not disrupt the gun range is the numbers don’t work. They are going to dump $1.2 million into a facility that might net $100 per year, before food, per customer. Unless this is the platinum gun range the local millionaires go to, provided the restaurant with no alcohol survives, there is no chance to turn a profit.
The people who put the gun range together must know that too. Therefore, we should vigilant and always endeavoring to discover the true exit strategy.
- Art and Furniture Benefits
Shoulder season travelers tend to have more disposable income. They also like to buy art and furniture when on vacation. There should be no county sales tax on these two items if purchased at stores in the U District.
- We need to talk about the Craft Beer Museum
There is no easy way to say this so I am going to stick to the numbers. The entire Newport Preservation Society barely has 100 employees. What are 100 people at a beer museum going to do?? If you pay each one $32,000 – that does not include payroll taxes or benefits or anything else which you know exists – the museum must attract 300 visitors per day to turn a profit. So we can watch hops grow?? Seriously??
Ok, let me propose two ways to better spend our money. In both cases, take $10 million off the top and don’t spend it because you don’t need to. Take another $2 million for addiction, $1 million for a peer to peer recovery center, $1 million as a jump start to the Utica paving, and $2 million for a “Hops Wing” and whichever of these two projects you decide on.
- Build another museum that makes more sense and draws more income
- Take an old Vince Gilroy idea that was bad and make it good. With $66 million, you could fix the drainage issues at Harbor Point while developing a Double AA Baseball Stadium complete with petting zoo. The “Hops Wing” would give mommies and daddies something to be interested in while the kids are petting the llamas.
If elected as the Legislator from the 22nd District, I can use my presentation skills in such a way that the public will never feel out of the loop on any project. The days of avoiding town halls and charrettes in favor of a wink and a nod politics are finally over once and for all.