Saturday, June 14, 2008

on arenas, populations, and money.

Albuquerque is not a huge city. It's mid-sized, but it's perfect for me. I hated it growing up (hence the running away to a far-away college) but in my old age, I've realized that it's a great place. I'd love to raise a family here. (Assuming I ever get to that point.) However, this leads to problems every once in a while, when we try to think that we're something we're not. One of my favorite stories that my mom tells me is when she was a kid, moving here from California and watching the television, where the newscasters were trying to explain this new so-called "highway" and how to use it. (I wish I could find video for this, but I doubt it exists... I'd kill for that, though, so I might spend some time scouring the web after I'm done with this entry.)

Regardless, my city has great potential. We have amazing weather, we have a river running through the city, we have mountains, etc. It's great. There's a lot here to be proud of. And recently, there's been a lot of attention paid to the downtown area. This is a great move, in my opinion, and it follows the successful models put forth by other cities in the sincerest form of flattery.

However, there are things that haven't worked out so well. We had a rather infamous (at least by city standards) debate about a trolley service recently and there have been other, larger issues that a lot of people have taken points of interest in.

(Hah! Just as a sidenote, I'm writing this at a local cafe (where they provide free wireless, shout out!) and in walks that semi-famous local politician again! All by himself, again, totally relaxed, but at least this time I get to see that he drives a black Prius. What a guy.)

Anyway, as I was saying, the new issue that people are talking about is the idea of an arena downtown. There are many, many factors to consider here, especially in regards to our population, the money issue, and, of course, the previously failed projects scattered around town. We have a mall that used to be really popular that is now all-but closed currently being used for nothing - although I did hear that they're currently filming a movie there, so that might be worth keeping it around for those purposes. We also have an old arena that no one likes to go to concerts at, because the acoustics are terrible that used to be coupled with a race track, but that race track appears to be on the way out. Both of these locations would seem to be custom-tailored to renovating insofar as putting up an arena. However, that doesn't fit in with the mayor's wish of 'revitalizing' downtown and so we have to talk about putting this arena downtown. I'd love if it was downtown. I live around that area, so it'd be a boon to my house insofar as value, but I also worry about the transportation issues that others have brought up. I also recognize that it's not an easy thing to obtain the money needed for a project of this magnitude.

So the real question is: do we need something like this? Based on the size of our city, I'm not sure that we do. However, I do think that it could be a boon. If we determined that something like this would make us money, then we could determine where it should go.

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