Dear McHenry County College Board:
Independent economists across the country conclude that public funding of sports teams is bad policy. For instance:
Economist Andrew Zimbalist, Smith College: “Generally speaking, the independent research suggests that we can’t anticipate any economic impact” from sports teams and stadiums.
Economist Robert Baade, Lake Forest College: “The literature concerning investment in pro sports stadiums suggests they often fail to provide a positive direct return on the money invested in them.”
Economist Adam M. Zaretsky, Federal Reserve Bank: “[W]hen a city chooses to use taxpayer dollars to finance a sports stadium, the city’s leaders must consider not only what the alternative uses of those funds could be – such as schools, police, roads, etc. – but they must also figure what return the city would receive from these other ventures . . . . This adjusted calculation, though, is almost always missing from sports stadium impact studies. Why? Because in just about every case, the adjusted calculation would show that the next-best alternative was actually the better alternative.”
Zaretsky concludes, “Has financing sports stadiums ever been the best alternative? Research shows ‘No.’”
I could quote from scores of reports from independent and objective researchers who reach similar conclusions. As I understand it there is still time to back out of your stadium deal. I urge you to do so.
Research Fellow, The Heartland Institute
Here you can see the new acreage that the college is asking to cover with 50% (maybe more) of impervious material, that is, roofs and parking lots. The picture was taken Labor Day from Ridgefield Road looking west onto Tartan Drive. It is close to the Metra tracks and, possibly, a future train station.