BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Buffalo Common Council heard from researchers on Tuesday whosay Bass Pro might not be such a business boon after all.
We've been talking about Bass Pro for seven years now and it isactually starting to look like it is very much on track, but a lotof the talk still centers around whether it's worth the public'smoney.
As construction crews lay the iron beams to shore up the earthfor a new Bass Pro shop downtown, over at City Hall, the projectcontinues to be criticized by a non-profit think tank that callsit, "a waste of money."
"We work primarily off of newspaper articles," explained oneresearcher.
The Public Accountability Initiative (PAI) visited some othercities who have a Bass Pro, and found that in Harrisburg,Pennsylvania, the 300 jobs that were promised, only amounted toaround 100. In Toledo, Ohio, the store has resulted in virtually nospin-off development.
Andrew Stecker of the PAI said, "Clearly, Bass Pro is not asurefire economic development solution. The claims that are made inrelation to Bass Pro cannot be taken at face-value."
The researchers seemed to be preaching to the choir at theCommon Council's community development meeting.
Common Council President David Franczyk said, "I just don't knowwhere the endgame is. If it's coming, you should only announce itwhen it's signed, if it's signed, or if they sign a letter ofintent or what have you."
"Whoever tells them that we're going to give you everything youwant, plus some, should probably be fired, shot, whatever. This isjust unbelievable," added Councilmember Joseph Golombek.
What does the President of the Harbor Development Corporationthink of the criticism?
"I think a lot of it is fictitious," retorted President ThomasDee
Dee says the only direct public subsidy for the Bass Pro storeis $35 million, not the $154 million in surroundingimprovements.
Dee added, "There's people that don't want things to happen.That's their prerogative, and that's really what's wrong withBuffalo. It's what we always complain about, things don't happen,things don't get done. I would just ask those guys, "Is this what'sgoing to happen again? Things won't get done because you're goingto get in the way?" Let's think about progress."
We should point out that the Common Council cannot really stopthe Bass Pro project at this point.
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