DDA Cool To 5 Million For CAA

July 12, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — A recent request from the Convention and Arena Authority to the Downtown Development Authority for an additional $5 million contribution to the DeVos Place building fund was met with little enthusiasm by DDA members last week.

That much money doesn’t appear to be readily available from the DDA.

Still, the DDA told its Priorities Advisory Committee to look for revenue sources to fill the request and to determine how the board’s list of downtown projects would be affected if it donated the money.

At the same time, board members agreed to ask Kent County to fill the request.

Mayor John Logie, a DDA member and chair of the CAA, pointed out that the city and the DDA each gave $5 million to the convention center project.

Logie said the city also donated its share of the Hall of Justice property, which the city owned with the county, and the former DeVos Hall parking ramp to the project. Both sites are being used to expand the center along Monroe Avenue.

Then Logie noted that the $86 million pledged by the county to the project comes from the lodging excise tax paid by visitors to the area, and not from the county’s general fund.

He added that the county has more money than the city and DDA combined, and that the county could better afford to give the $5 million to the project.

The $220 million DeVos Place construction budget is currently $12.7 million short, and the last round of bids are to be let this month. CAA project manager Dale Sommers told the DDA that the money is needed by November. If the cash isn’t received by then, he said portions of the project could be put on hold.

“The gap is a well-defined figure, but it is a real number,” said David Frey, vice chairman of the CAA and co-chairman of the Grand Action Committee.

Frey added that a partnership between the county and the DDA was a plausible idea, and he revealed that the private sector fund drive led by Grand Action raised $32 million for the building’s construction. He said an official announcement of that figure would be coming soon. The drive’s original goal was $30 million.

The CAA made its request to the DDA at its June meeting.

Also last week, the DDA agreed to drop its original plan for a riverbank promenade behind the convention center for a shorter version. The CAA told DDA members that they needed to come up with another $700,000 if they wanted their original project built. Board members declined to do so, feeling that the money could be put to better use.

“We need to finish the convention center,” said John Canepa, DDA member and Grand Action co-chair, “and get it up and running.”            BJ

z

GRAND RAPIDS — A recent request from the Convention and Arena Authority to the Downtown Development Authority for an additional $5 million contribution to the DeVos Place building fund was met with little enthusiasm by DDA members last week.

That much money doesn’t appear to be readily available from the DDA.

Still, the DDA told its Priorities Advisory Committee to look for revenue sources to fill the request and to determine how the board’s list of downtown projects would be affected if it donated the money.

At the same time, board members agreed to ask Kent County to fill the request.

Mayor John Logie, a DDA member and chair of the CAA, pointed out that the city and the DDA each gave $5 million to the convention center project.

Logie said the city also donated its share of the Hall of Justice property, which the city owned with the county, and the former DeVos Hall parking ramp to the project. Both sites are being used to expand the center along Monroe Avenue.

Then Logie noted that the $86 million pledged by the county to the project comes from the lodging excise tax paid by visitors to the area, and not from the county’s general fund.

He added that the county has more money than the city and DDA combined, and that the county could better afford to give the $5 million to the project.

The $220 million DeVos Place construction budget is currently $12.7 million short, and the last round of bids are to be let this month. CAA project manager Dale Sommers told the DDA that the money is needed by November. If the cash isn’t received by then, he said portions of the project could be put on hold.

“The gap is a well-defined figure, but it is a real number,” said David Frey, vice chairman of the CAA and co-chairman of the Grand Action Committee.

Frey added that a partnership between the county and the DDA was a plausible idea, and he revealed that the private sector fund drive led by Grand Action raised $32 million for the building’s construction. He said an official announcement of that figure would be coming soon. The drive’s original goal was $30 million.

The CAA made its request to the DDA at its June meeting.

Also last week, the DDA agreed to drop its original plan for a riverbank promenade behind the convention center for a shorter version. The CAA told DDA members that they needed to come up with another $700,000 if they wanted their original project built. Board members declined to do so, feeling that the money could be put to better use.

“We need to finish the convention center,” said John Canepa, DDA member and Grand Action co-chair, “and get it up and running.”           

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