TEE center approval is a no-brainer

Every time I read something on this page with such questionable logic ("TEE center plans are a big mistake," Oct. 19), I get the feeling someone is dragging his or her fingernails across a tin roof.

 

I understand the letter writer because I realize that they don't know what they are talking about. However, I find it hard to believe that someone doesn't understand the difference between revenue and expense.

It's very basic: Visitors bring in money to spend. Our hospitality folks man the cash register, take the money and spread it around. Tourists and meeting attendees spend millions annually to eat, sleep and be entertained here. This outside money circulates and benefits everyone. It pays salaries and for improvements to our infrastructure.

Our guests finance a great deal of our community needs. The Masters Tournament, the Augusta Futurity and, more recently, the ESi Ironman -- the biggest ironman competition ever held anywhere -- are just big examples of what happens every week when a progressive city markets itself well.

The trade, exhibit and event center already is 20 percent built and attached to the two Marriott hotels. The only reason to not complete it is if we don't want the extra $1 million a month we are presently losing because we can't handle bigger meetings.

Sounds stupid? Well, it is stupid. We have lost more than $40 million since we voted in 2005 to instruct our Augusta commissioners to finish the job. What's this about the emperor fiddling while Rome burned?

And another thing: Does anyone really think the Hyatt Hotel Group would put a new $25 million facility in downtown Augusta without doing their due diligence? But no -- bring in an expert who wrote a book about the overbuilding of convention centers in large overcrowded cities.

Don't let someone who mistakes a bodily function for brain waves confuse you.

Julian W. Osbon,Augusta

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