Grand Junction City Council Encourages A Bolder Economic Approach
The City of Grand Junction is asking voters to vote yes on funding an awesome new event center in Downtown Grand Junction. If the vote passes, the new event center will be funded by a quarter of a cent sales tax hike. The sales tax increase would generate somewhere around $3.8 million every year, the money would cover the debt over a 30-year period.
Several local entities are encouraging voters to support the event center as it will provide an enormous boost to the local economy at a very reasonable price to the taxpayers. This would be a strategic move for the city as the regional draw of the venue will attract thousands of non-residents to the area.
It is estimated at this point (Hunden Strategic Partners) that this event center could generate around $1 billion in a 30-year time period (roughly $30 million annually). The event center will provide over 200 permanent jobs every year. In addition, there will be a lot of temporary work for remodeling and construction. It is estimated that the cost to the average Grand Junction family is around $2.50/month or roughly $30 per year.
The Two Rivers Convention Center has been a large topic of discussion among City Council for some time. Currently, the Convention Center has been operating at a deficit. The City has agreed to move management and operations of the Convention Center to the private company, Pinnacle Venue Services. While Pinnacle manages the Convention Center, the city’s subsidy lowers from $450,000 to $225,000, annually.
If voters authorize the new event center, it would establish necessary framework for a public-private partnership to operate through the new facility. The current contract with PVS is not contingent upon the new event center. However, if voters support the new event center, it would open the door for the new partnership to operate.
City Council has considered alternate locations, even the possibility of building the event center on the opposite side of Downtown, but none of the additional locations made as much economic sense. There is already a hockey league, and an NBA D-League basketball team considering anchoring the event center's performance schedule. This project is banking on steadiness of existing downtown economic activity.
This new event center has been long debated and carefully calculated to provide the most economic punch for the local investment. This project has been diligently designed to draw thousands of regional visitors to the area.
Some locals still view tourism as a “lesser” economic stimulus. However, towns like Aspen, Vail, and Telluride rely almost entirely on tourism, and all seem to have a much higher economic profile than Grand Junction. In addition, the City of Grand Junction is not relying solely on tourism. In addition to the event center, the City is also focusing on developing manufacturing, professional services, and outdoor recreation sectors as well.
This is a bold plan, no doubt. However, this is a plan aimed at greatly increasing the economy in Grand Junction, something this town has needed for a long time.