Steven Stanek Criticizes McHenry County Board Convention Center Idea

A cogent critique from Steve Stanek on the McHenry County Board’s efforts to build a convention center, in my opinion:

So, McHenry County leaders want a baseball stadium/multi-use complex. Consider these words:

“[F]or economic development purposes, sports stadiums and arenas are not particularly effective at creating jobs and income. . . . In most cities, a single substantial hotel has a greater economic impact than a major league sports facility.” – Issue Paper by Steven E. Spickard, Economics Research Associates, McHenry County College’s own stadium consultant.

“[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 . . . Has financing sports stadiums ever been the best alternative? Research shows ‘No.’” – Adam Zaretsky, economist, U.S. Federal Reserve.

“In almost eight years of reporting on stadium deals, I’ve spoken to every economist I can find about the impact of sports stadiums. And I’ve yet to find a single independent economist (by which I mean one not actually working for a sports team or league) who thinks that stadiums are any use as an economic engine.” – Neil DeMause, author, Field of Schemes, Common Courage Press, 1999.

There is no independent research to support claims that a stadium complex would be an economic boon. There is a mountain of research to suggest it would be an economic boondoggle.

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