This Is Cooperation

January 27, 2003
Print
Text Size:
A A
We understood his point.

But, in making the case that tourism bureaus along the lakeshore have nothing to fear in partnering with Grand Rapids in the “Michigan’s West Coast” branding campaign, couldn’t GRMAYOR have used a slightly better example to tout regional cooperation than the partnership GR has with suburban communities to run the area’s sewer system?

After all, does anybody who lives downstream from the Grand Rapids sewer plant really consider it a model of success?

A model of consistency, yes, given how much sewage overflows into the Grand River each year following heavy rains. (We presume the folks behind the West Coast thing in all likelihood won’t mention this about GR in the brochures).

  • Something they will mention, however, is Van Andel Arena. And rightfully so.

The dozen events held in December produced a neatly wrapped gift for the Van Andel Arena, as the building had a net-income figure of $140,809 for the month. The margin was nearly $30,000 above the month’s projection.

Much of that profit came from the Aerosmith concert, the group’s third appearance in the building in six years. Food, beverage and novelty sales from the sold-out event pumped up the arena’s ancillary income.

SMG General Manager RichMacKeigan said the concert industry remains fairly strong in many markets despite a weak economy. He felt that people weren’t traveling as much as they normally have, and are treating themselves to a getaway weekend at home instead, which includes taking in a show or concert.

December marked the halfway point of the current fiscal year, and the revenue picture for the arena continues to look strong. Net income after capital stood at $661,004 halfway through FY03. For FY02, the second-most profitable year in arena history, that figure was $326,811. But last year, the arena had a very strong second half.

SMG Director of Finance ChrisMachuta felt the arena should finish at least $200,000 over budget for the fiscal year. He said if the open dates between now and July are filled, the bottom line would be even better.

MacKeigan added that this is the kind of year in which they could “blow the budget out of the water” or just meet projections. He felt the financial outcome for the arena hinged on how well scheduling goes for the last six months of the fiscal year.

A bit more in the form of compensation could be coming to the arena from the change in playing seasons for the Arena Football League. The league’s new contract with NBC-TV means the Grand Rapids Rampage will kick off its season on Feb. 1, instead of in April as the franchise has done in the past.

Attorneys for the Convention and Arena Authority have concluded that the change of seasons isn’t covered in the franchise’s lease with the building and may result in team owner DP Fox Sports having to compensate the arena for the scheduling change. The two sides are in negotiations. The Rampage has its first home game at the arena on Feb. 16.

  • OK, stop picking on the guy when he’s working out at the YMCA. It wasn’t his fault. Walt Gutowski Sr., who was pictured on the cover of the Jan. 20 Focus section on printing and graphics, has been getting an earful from his friends. Not because of the picture, which was nice, but because of the caption, which wasn’t.

The Journal claimed Gutowski was working on a Linotype machine.

“Actually, it’s called a California Job Case,” said the elder Gutowski, who with his son, Walt Gutowski Jr., has run Swift Printing for decades. “I’m setting type (in the photo) the same way Gutenberg did.”

Anyone in the printing business would recognize the error. “I’ve got three or four calls,” he said, chuckling. “At one time there were seven Linotype shops in Grand Rapids, but there aren’t any now. Ohio is the nearest place for a Linotype.”

  • For those of you who followed closely the adventures of our 10 finalists for the 2002 Newsmaker of the Year Award, we offer the following scenario. Call it the 10 Degrees of Newsmaker Separation.

It really is a small world after all, isn’t it?

Renowned community bankers Ben Smith of Macatawa, Gerald Johnson of Mercantile and Jose Infante of Community Shores decide to have a fun-filled day hanging out together in Grand Rapids. As they drive to town, they notice their car is equipped with one of those high-tech electro-chromic rearview mirrors built by Magna Donnelly, perhaps by an employee who received job training in electronics at the new Tassell M-TEC

Cruising down 28th Street, they become excited about the possibilities of shopping at the new $50 million retail complex planned by Hund-Fink Acquisitions.

Arriving in downtown, they decide to go for a stroll. Stopping at Calder Plaza, they look around and imagine what the place will look like in a few years if Blue Bridge Ventures gets to build its hotel.

Suddenly, their cell phones all ring. It’s the law partners of Parmenter O’Toole. A client needs a loan for his new alternative energy venture that’s going to locate in the Muskegon SmartZone.

Hurrying back to the car in hopes of closing the deal before the day is done, they each stumble and hurt themselves, causing one to anxiously anticipate the opening of the new Thomas M. Cooley Law School in downtown Grand Rapids.

They initially thought they should go to Metropolitan Hospital’s new health-care village, but since it won’t open for four years, they hobbled up the street to Spectrum Health’s Butterworth Campus to have somebody tend to their injuries.

Spectrum promptly sends the bill to the bankers’ health insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, which after its latest rate increase, makes Ben, Jose and Jerry wish they were all enrolled in the Kent Health Plan           

Recent Articles by Business Journal Staff

Editor's Picks

Comments powered by Disqus