We believe that the Coliseum’s surroundings are just as integral a part of future development as the arena itself. The winning proposal should offer mixed use, with entertainment, convention and retail space. Only then can money — and permanent jobs — filter back into the county, giving our economy the boost it so desperately needs. The public must insist on this, because taxpayers would never see a return on the investment they are sure to be forced to make if the development is unsuccessful.
The county should have learned from the Lighthouse project and the public referendum. Both failed for different reasons specific to their plans, but were doomed in one common way: They were put forward with an arrogance that so annoyed stakeholders that they failed to gather broad enough support. Elected officials should have recognized the flaws and worked on behalf of the people, not the developers.
We’ve all learned what doesn’t work. Let’s get the Coliseum right this time around.