Why Can't Local Officials Treat the Parks Better?

Saturday, March 31, 2007 7:40 AM
We all know about the problems that parks have with the local powers that be. Bell's closes because of the hanky panky going on with county officials in bed with a carnival company that has rides at the county fair. CLP possibly in jeopardy once again over zoning matters involving land they are trying to sell. Waldameer's big coaster delayed for years because of disputes and bureaucratic red tape.

Then there are taxes: not state taxes that provide a broad benefit to many people but local taxes that benefit only a few people. KW, KI, CP and other parks have had their differences over amusement and parking taxes that only benefit residents and other landowners in the communities where they are located.

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Saturday, March 31, 2007 8:45 AM
Heres why:
-They are only one business out of many, and if something is going to only affect them and not the satelite businesses (hotels, resturants, etc) their main campaign donors arent going to care
-They cater to tourists, which as you know are despised everywhere and locals allways want to squeeze as much money out of them as possible
-Parks are seen as golden geese and people take them for granted until its too late
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Saturday, March 31, 2007 10:01 AM
It's the state's job to stop local communities from abusing their taxing powers. A state tax is fairer because everyone in the state benefits from it. Most parks get the majority, or at least a significant part, of their business from in-state residents. The main exceptions to this are the destination parks. Very few parks get a majority of their business from one municipality.
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Saturday, March 31, 2007 11:05 AM
It's not the states' job to do any such thing. The feds already overrule local authority, and they have no idea what's good locally either.

I could care less about my elected officials being "nice" to any business. I just want them to do what's right for my community. Most of the time, they get it right.

And frankly, I'm not convinced that changing housing density is good for the CLP neighborhood. As for Bell's, he should've sued because there was clearly something improper going on there.

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Saturday, March 31, 2007 12:30 PM
I agree on that last one. Everything about the way that went down reeked of b.s. Something was going on behind the scenes and Bell was in a perfect position to expose that. But maybe he just wanted to get on with relocating his park?
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Saturday, March 31, 2007 12:49 PM
Let's not forget what happened with Libertyland and the current situation with Wichita's Joyland.
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Saturday, March 31, 2007 1:07 PM
Perhaps the local officials want CLP dead. The land value is probably worth way more than the park itself. LakeFront Condo's will sell, 4-6 per acre no problem. 10 an acre is kind-of pushing it. Maybe I'm wrong.
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Saturday, March 31, 2007 11:23 PM
And then there was the situation at Erieview, where the local community owned the park outright and decided it didn't fit their 'plan' for land use.
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Sunday, April 1, 2007 1:57 PM

Jeff said:I could care less about my elected officials being "nice" to any business. I just want them to do what's right for my community. Most of the time, they get it right.

I'll support that TO A DEGREE.

But I also think, as often as not, local officials do what their biggest contributors *tell/ask* them to do. Granted they need to avoid ticking off the *majority* of their constituents...but as we discussed in "that thread", the najority isn't ALWAYS the best measure of what's good for the community in the longer run.

When a new tax comes along that threatens only ONE business (the taxing gigs on parking in Sandusky, Mason, and Sesame Place come immediately to mind), most everyone not *directly* involved with that business seems to believe it's a great idea. "Better them than me."

But amusmement parks are also fill a very special niche. Locals hotels and restaurants reap *enormous* benefits. They're "clean", environmentally. They employ locals. And they bring "outsider" dollars into the LOCAL economy.

Economically-speaking, there's a *multiplier effect* on the economy when money gets spent. That's the nature of that whole "Where's George" experiment. My belief (sans data, again) is that money spent on the SERVICE sector - like parks and hotels - has a higher multiplier...thereby making the income generated by parks an even BIGGER benefit to the locals. (My theory is based on the assumption that service-industry workers, due to lower incomes, turn their money over FASTER than people who have "better jobs".)

Want to see how your town would do WITHOUT their amusement park? Ask a town that's lost one...

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Sunday, April 1, 2007 2:07 PM
You mean ask Tulsa, Pensacola, Nashville, Houston, New Orleans, or Memphis for example.

Pittsburgh would be a less enjoyable place without Kennywood but that isn't going to happen. The park has good patronage and nobody wants to build condos or a mall in that location.

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Sunday, April 1, 2007 3:00 PM
^ At least not in that location anymore ... the building of the Waterfront (a MAJOR mall and condo complex about 5 minutes down the road for non-locals) did more to secure Kennywood's longevity than anything else that could have happened at the park.
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Tuesday, April 3, 2007 9:06 AM
The Waterfront business also had something in it for Kennywood. Lacking room at their regular location for a waterpark, they decided to build one there. Now an amphitheatre that used to be located close to downtown Pittsburgh is also moving to this location.

The Waterfront was the former site of the US Steel Homestead Works. Now it has become a mulituse complex with shopping and entertainment as well as residences.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2007 1:00 PM
It's not just parks, it's most businesses and industries in general. There's a perception that even the smallest business is a bottomless pit of money, and of course anyone who makes money is somehow exploiting someone else, and is therefore evil.

Add to this the fact that many local officials are budding tyrants who get off on the power they have over their few square miles of real estate. You end with something right out of a Simpsons' episode with Mayor Quimby and his off the wall taxes.

Every nickel local officials can get from businesses is a nickel less they have to squeeze from the residents who will vote when they're up for re-election.

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