BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - We've been hearing about Bass Pro for years. The mega-retailersays it's still coming to Buffalo, but a new study is casting doubton whether its arrival will really reel in spin-offdevelopment.
For nearly a decade, western New Yorkers have heard what a BassPro store in Buffalo could do for the local economy.
Kevin Connor of the Public Accountability Initiative said, "Timeand time again, Bass Pro has failed to live up to the promises thathave won it hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money."
Now the non-profit group, Public Accountability Initiative, isreleasing a study taking what it claims is a closer look at BassPro's impact in communities where public dollars help lure thestore to a city.
"The problem is that the economic development promises ofincreased tax revenue and job growth do not materialize," saidAndrew Stecker of Public Accountability Initiative.
Jordan Levy is with the Erie Canal Harbor DevelopmentCorporation, which is negotiating a lease with Bass Pro. Taxpayersare on the hook for a minimum of $35 million.
Levy said, "I think the individuals that did the report did itintending from day one to write a negative report about BassPro."
Now the goal is to still have Bass Pro fill the hole downtown atthe site of the old Aud. The group says it's not anti-Bass Pro, itjust wants taxpayers to have all the right information.
"We're doing the things that are going to bring people back toour waterfront. It's this glorious day and look how many people arehere," said Levy.
And the people here are willing to give their take on what itwill take to attract people.
Becky Kmitch said, "I think Bass Pro's a good idea. I'd alsolike to see, kinda, a little restaurants all along the waterfront,activities to do."
"I think more stores besides Bass Pro. I mean, I know MainStreet down that way got kind of dysfunctional, but down here Ithink people would shop more if there were more little kiosk typestores," added Kelly Breen.
Levy tells News 4 he's hoping the lease with Bass Pro is signedsometime this summer. However, he has concerns negative mediacoverage could keep the retailer from opening a store here. We willfollow this one for you.
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