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I'm watching the City Council Meeting, and McCaslin is explaining about the hotel feasibility study. The mayor just said it was the hotel folks that they met with in November who suggested that the City fund such a study.
And he asked for a motion to fund it...
And it passed.
Please remember this next election season.
Hole: Read Ms. Edith's thoughts on her latest blog. Reasonable? No general fund tax revenues.
Yeah Bootfest...reading up on it on the VCVB mediocre website makes it sound like any other thing that happens here...Local bands with a couple of minor headliners, dance, some type of festival/carnival....wow this sounds familiar.
bighorn what is your definition of reasonable steps? I would hate to build to wear you have to renovate/expand in 10 years...Victoria is good at that..especially when it comes to streets. Maybe something multifunctional like Katy,TX has in the Merrill Center.
When:Monday, May 23, noon to midnight Where:214 N Main Cost:Not available Age limit:Not available Categories:Meetings/Classes/Seminars
CALL TO ORDER ~ Robert Leon, Chairman
MINUTES ~ As emailed
TREASURER’S REPORT ~ As Distributed, Susan Prukop
DIRECTOR’S REPORTCommunity Projects and DevelopmentOn My Own TimeBoot FestMain Street ProjectEducation and YouthJuried Youth Art
OLD BUSINESSRetreat Meeting
NEW BUSINESSFuture of the Cultural Council
Saw a billboard for the Boot Fest out of 59 coming in to Victoria. Will be in October. Haven't seen anything in paper except for this agenda.
JL, would you feel better about the campaign if it was bring your flip-flops? I swear sometimes that people around here are almost smart enough to be dangerous.
bighorn, what would you say is "reasonable measures and steps taken"?
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So, we have two groups. One that conceeds upgrades towards growth are needed, but want reasonable measures and steps taken. And the other that wants spend with abandon in the hopes that Victoria will someday require public stuctures of an area of 4 times it's current size.
Any guess from which group the funds will come regardless?
i misread the article, thought the study was about hotel usage and such, not just a hotel convention center.
i agree, this needs to be a private venture.
Where did the VCVB director come from anyways? Spending over a million dollars making Victoria look like an old west cowboy town. I dont even own a pair of boots and would never...no need for them. Just think what 1.5 mil could do for a facility here.
I'm not against future planning at all, but based on the way folks around here plan stuff, I don't have much faith that they'd get it right.
So far $1.5 million could have gone towards a tax-funded convention center (if I am correct in assuming HOT could be used for that). I don't have a problem with HOT funds being used, but apparently boot campaigns have a higher priority.
holein1...you would take both to the floor...why would you want to just shoot for scraps? And places like edna are doing what they can to keep all of the business by expanding their business...I had to actually go to Edna to attend a major concert because no place in Victoria could host it....thats 5 thousand people leaving Victoria for an event...smart move Victoria. Yeah you call the parks department and the comfortable long running morons to the floor and also the city council for keeping them there.
So vox you are against any future planning (i.e. building for the future)? I can agree with you if you are looking at a hotel/conference center because they tend to be one in the same (banquet halls in hotels)...that should and would be private sector. Unless we are to get some type of pro team, unlikely, and even in those instances convenention centers and arenas are built with public funds....in that instance, because I truly believe we need one and will need one in the future, I am for it. You are not going to get a private sector to build an arena and/convention center. This is a positive legacy project unlike the riverwalk. I am against legacy project like a riverwalk because that is getting taxpayers to build private companies business'.
If you want to find out the answer to the question about why we don't have a better arena, I suggest that you attend a parks and rec meeting. I witnessed a meeting where the arena and community center was discussed. Get this, when pressed to answer why nothing was included in the budget for updating the arena, the parks and rec rep said this... We discussed it and decided that it wouldn't be a good use of funds. The PRCA will not have any of their sanctioned events at the arena. Because of its size it has been deemed unsafe in their opinion. We felt that it wouldn't be worth it to try and expand the current arena. As for building a new one, we figured we would just try and attract the overnight business from the neighboring communities that have new arenas, like Jackson County. Or something similar, not exact quote. WOW! I was floored by that.
So should we really be upset with just the city council, or is it the people that actually run the departments that we should be calling on the carpet? I say it's more the latter than the former. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way in love with the council.
Just to clarify my position...I'm all for a hotel/convention center, as long as it is built by the private sector.
The way I read it is that the purpose of the study is to have something to market Victoria to companies that may want to construct a hotel/convention center here. That's great, bring it on. I'd love to have a nice facility here in town that could attract thousands of people.
What I'm afraid of is that this is going to turn into a 'legacy' project for the mayor using tax payer dollars. i.e. the report says we need a convention center, so by God we're getting one no matter what. I'm not down for that.
It's kind of odd how as soon as the TAMUV bill died there's all this talk of riverwalks and convention centers. Almost seems as though one legacy project didn't pan out, so there's a search for something else.
Dont get me started with the 3 year project that is Laurent. It made sense to get the street fixed (although sounds like they got taken to the shed on paying 140k to do a study). It must have not told them who to use because this firm rarely does anything...I do see them sitting and talking a lot at all different times of the day...they are good at that...but that is off topic. More to the point, all the money that we pay to see if things are feasible seems to be wasting that money. I am not sure if that is so much the city manager's job, but there are bound to be city staff positions that should be doing this type of studies. To put it to the point: Hotel and conference center alone is not feasible...it is thinking WAY to small. It is time for Victorians to think towards the future. Build for growth. You can not build for how it is going to be utilized for the next year or two...you need to look at how Victoria is going to grow, how can it be used to promote growth, etc and build for the future. The problem with Victoria is that it has always been built for the now or the past. Who in their right mind would build loop 463 initially the way they built it? We need a 100-150k sq foot convention center with an arena, banquet halls/ballrooms and meeting rooms. It may not initially be fully utilized but give it time.
JL, I would answer the questions I asked, but sadly I'm not an expert. And that is exactly my point. We can all say how it's obvious that we need this and that, but that's not the reason for the study. Do you honestly think that the only question to be answered with a feasibility study is whether or not the project is needed?
Vox, care to take a stab at those questions? Heck, anyone!?!
If I remember correctly the COV paid a lot more for a feasibility study for the Laurent Street project, $140,000 or so. Now that was closer to a waste of money than something like this. Still don't think it was, again because I'm not an expert.
Anyone on this site have experience with feasibility studies? I'd like to hear what they have to say.
Why cant the city manager do this? In the real world that is a manager's job. But wait, this is victoria and bruce is busy on facebook.
EdithAnn, The PKF file turned up nothing, but you are right the Aransas Pass place looks nice. I would say we need something a couple times larger than what Aransas Pass got, but similar style. My hope is something with ballrooms, meeting space and an attached arena. The arena allows for larger events, sporting events, rodeos, boxing/UFC/wrestling, concerts, etc.
Here is what PKF consulting form did for Aransas County:http://www.aransascountytx.gov/main/d...
This is the Aransas Pass Civic Center, and it is a beautiful facility. I have attended events here, and it is nice. Something like this would be just the ticket for Victoria. http://www.aransaspassciviccenter.com/
well gee vox, are you going to fix the location with that money? Dont think you can do that. If you have ever done anything with planning and hosting events, you will know that besides just things such as small expos and shows, it really has no flexibility. Sure you could hold a concert there, but that is an acoustical nightmare that I would not wish on anyone. If you look at the rodeo arena area, that is also completely lacking in size..now if you combined the two sides and had some type of removeable flooring to allow to use whatever is needed, then overall sq footage may work, though the ceiling needs to be much much higher. Also the mistake is to think that conventions and conferences are the only thing it could be going on. You also have to have filler events. The type of facility I would propose would be more arena style so you could also draw in sporting events or have local teams host sporting events to draw out of town colleges. If you look for example at Alexandria's facilities...the coliseum is much more utilized because of it's size and how flexible it is. I wouldn't say it needs a little of the boots money, it needs all and then some. holein1, I dont think you got the response from roberttx because you have not agreed to the 10k payment. I would be contradicting myself if I said these studies are not needed and then did one which is what your questions are asking. I even agreed with vox's articles proving that fact (yet for some reason you never challenged vox). But I will answer a couple off the top of my head...one I have no idea why you asked about the tearing down and replacing of hotels accomplishing anything....which it does not unless it is trying to beautify the area in some way. You ask for the options for a multi-purpose faciltity. You need something that can be used as a whole or be broken into segments. Something along the lines of the Fort Worth Convention Center, but scaled back about half. Where it would have a main arena that would seat 4-6 thousand and then some exhibition halls/ballrooms that could be used. Now before people start twisting this, I am using this convention center as an example of optimum style....NOT size. We would not have adequate need, at least I dont think, for a 300,000 sq foot convention center...but we do need more than a hotel with a couple of ballrooms. We used to have that with the old Holiday inn. Also holein1, it is is obvious we need it, now if you want me to do the study then show me the money...I will be much less than 30k. Or even better, you are such an advocate of these studies...why dont you answer those questions for us....they seem to be your thing.
Just because a city has a convention center doesn't mean that it is being utilized. You should take a look at the calendar of events for a few of those links you posted. There are some months that have absolutely nothing booked for several of the venues. Most of the events that are booked appear to be the same kind of stuff we already host here...parish festivals, car shows, weddings, etc.I couldn't find a whole lot of 'conferences' or 'conventions' going on at any of those places. Certainly not on a regular basis.
The only thing horribly wrong with our community center is its location. It has hosted tons of festivals, weddings, trade shows, rodeos, etc. I don't see anything wrong with our facility that couldn't be addressed with a little of that 'boots' money.
JL, these questions were originally posed to Roberttx. Since you said we don't need the study and you volunteered to do it, I'll pose them to you.
How many rooms should be built? How much meeting space will be needed? If we tear down 1 hotel/motel and build 1 hotel/motel are we really making that much of an impact? What size convention center should be built? How much will it cost? What type of options are available for a multi-purpose facility? Will an environmental impact study be needed? How much will it cost to demolish and haul off the debris from the old convention center? Will environmental cleanup be needed at that site? If so, what kind of costs could be associated with those measures?
for those that say we could not support, here are towns similar size, if not small, maybe a little larger in some areas that have convention centers and/or arenas.
Alexandria,LA a city of similar size and style if you add neighboring Pineville- http://www.alexandriariverfrontcenter... and http://www.therapidesparishcoliseum.com/Has neighboring competition of Shreveport/Bosier; Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, and New Orleans amongst others
Lufkin, TX-Smaller so has a smaller facility: http://www.cityoflufkin.com/cc/
Tyler, TX- Similar not the style I would advocate but here you go http://www.cityoftyler.org/Visitors/C... Tyler also has alternate facilities developed by sports teams at TJC and UTT....something both VC and UHV do not have.
Monroe,LA- City itself actually smaller than Victoria...though larger statistical area...several hotels as conference centers, a civic center and a convention center. All heavily utilized. http://www.monroe-westmonroe.org/web/...
These are just a few...I am pretty sure I can go to any city of our size and find much better meeting facilities than we have. Sorry to say, we eventually need to get a vision and learn to push for it. If you don't have it, then you never can see how much it will be used. vox, all your links against convention centers only focus on large cities and feasibility studies. I agree with the neddless feasibility study because...guess what...we need it...doesn't take 30k to tell me that...though if the city wants to pay me I will take it. What we need is a CVB with a vision and that knows how to market...we do not have that now.....not even close. They can take those boots and walk right on out of here.
To spend 30k on this is rediculous. It is obvious we need it. vox, big city convention centers in NY, Boston, etc struggle because many conventions compete against major hotels and sports arena's. I came from a city the size of Victoria that had a convention center and it had good utilization (at least an event a week if not more). The sad thing is that what the council is looking at is totally inadequate. A hotel and conference center that possibly would go to Victoria would have 2-3 ballrooms...maybe. This will not be a 30-40 floor Adams Mark or anything like that. These companies do their own economic feasibility studies....which is strange why we are doing a job they will do anyway. What we really need is to replace the totally inadequate community center with a large multi-purpose faciltity that can be broken into multiple rooms for a convention, could be set up for concerts, could be set up arena style for games and rodeos, theater style for graduations,and so on. If you just made it one way or the other or make it in the small poor acoustic style of the community center, you dont get much usage and utilization. If you build it to be of multiple purposes then you open it to be used by a lot of people.
we built the $15 million ball complex and for what??? Seasonal play, did we even get numerous playoff games here other than the local HS teams till they were out. Field of Dreams (StJ) had several softball playoff games. WHY??? Even Riverside was used limited time--ISD in the area overlook Victoria constantly. The COV doesn't promote 'heads in beds' and seems only for Boot related functions. But to spend $30,000..where is that money coming from????
WE, the city of Victoria, shouldn't be doing anything about hotels and motels. The hospitality industry is huge and they can afford to finance their own stuff. They don't need tax abatements or things like that. They can do their own studies. They can find their own land.
The Community Center has passed it's usefulness. But again, should the city be in that business? Look what private enterprise built out on the Cuero Highway.
Gonzales is the state headquarters for the Texas Youth Rodeo Association. J. B. Wells Park and Arena was really built for that, but has been used for other events. Youth Rodeo is seasonal, but, yes, most weekends, the grounds are packed. I noticed Monday as I was coming in from Austin, they are still building pads for trailers at a brisk clip.
And another thing Jack, there are some hotel/motel owners that are looking to build more in Victoria. However, I think part of the purpose of the study is to have something we can put in front of other developers that may not have even heard of Victoria. There are lot of towns the size of Victoria in the US, this is one way to make us stand out. We're not doing the homework for them, just giving them a reason to take a closer look. You better believe that any company that wants to make a multi-million dollar investment in any community is going to conduct their own study. Wouldn't you? Or would you just take their word for it?
Jack, probably one of the biggest hurdles is the fact that most of the land around 59 is currently in use for agri-business. Those people tend to want to hold on their land and not sell it. I do see us expanding in those areas in the future, but as for now the growth will probably continue in the northern area of town.
robert, how many rooms should be built? How much meeting space will be needed? If we tear down 1 hotel/motel and build 1 hotel/motel are we really making that much of an impact? What size convention center should be built? How much will it cost? What type of options are available for a multi-purpose facility? Will an environmental impact study be needed? How much will it cost to demolish and haul off the debris from the old convention center? Will environmental cleanup be needed at that site? If so, what kind of costs could be associated with those measures?
Woof: Try the Texas Railroad Commision for your issues with fracking, not the City of Victoria.
Does anyone know if the community center turns a profit, or is it always in the red? On that note, has it ever turned a profit since it was built?
i agree, tear down the current community center. it served the city well and needs to be retired.
hell, buy the land surrounded by the 'potential' airline expansion. that would be the PERFECT spot for a new community center / multi purpose center.
ill conduct this study for only 10k
hotels are filled sunday to friday, weekly. here are my suggestions:
1. tear down the old la quinta and build a new super sized la quinta, similar to what was built in port lavaca.
2. build another best western (but bigger) and please keep the same owners. maybe closer to the CAT site.
3. build something on 59/south loop, it will be used heavily.
4. Build a sheraton or hilton with decent meeting space, it will be used. look at the midland downtown hilton as an example. the new sheraton model is very nice, something like that but with expanded meeting space.
Each time I read about studies and development I think about the facility that Gonzales has - it may be a rodeo arena and facility, but there is something going on there 3 to 4 days a week it seems. Every weekend for sure. A study isn't necessary - commitment of the community is. If hotels were needed - they would be being built right now - Victoria is about the only place I travel through that doesn't have one or two new hotel/motels being built. I have been to the Community Center - how much of the time is it utilitized? Seems empty an awful lot of the time and it sure isn't the worst facility I have been in. Study why it isn't being fully used - make some changes there.
I like how so much of the money used to generate economic development for Victoria is spent everywhere but Victoria. How much of the 1.5 million to the CVB has gone out of town AND out of state?
This sudden flurry to 'study' everything is also amusing. Are all of these studies really necessary? JackDeuce is right about the hotel feasibility studies. Let the hotel folks fund those!
Couple of interesting links regarding convention centers and these market analysis studies.
Interesting line from the second link: "These market and feasibility studies thus offer no real basis for public investment and serve to bias public decision making and choice."
Why bother with the study. It will only provide the means and justification for doing what the Council wants to do anyway....build, spend, build, spend, build, spend,....Airline Extension. Riverwalk. Convention Center/Hotel. To say nothing of the secret pledges that may have been made to TAMU.
Is Victoria so rich we can afford such lavish spending? Where is the tax base that can support even one of these projects?
i still don't understood why a study would cost so much. 30 grand is a lot of money to some of us.
It's a shame that no local firm could handle this.Pat Barnes
This reporter fails to give the source of this funding. Does the $30,000 come from:1. greneral fund,2. hotel & motel fund3. the 1/2% sales tax, infrastructure fund?
Can someone at the Advocate supply this information?
Sounds to me that Mr. McCaslin considers the citizens in Victoria country bumkins assuming that meetings by organizations are held at the school cafeteria. That already sounds like another great idea by the mayor a great idea just like the boot fiasco. How many great ideas does the mayor still have that seems to cost several thousands of dollars of taxpayers money to come to the conclusion that those ideas really sux and have not bought any extra money to coffers of the city. Remember you have to subtract what was spent before you go in the black. I do not think that enough boots have been sold to pay for that yet.