By Jon A. Brake
Another consultant...Another $79,400...
It is amazing how many times a "Study or Report" will give justification to a "theory or want" that someone has on their agenda. A good point was how the "Housing Study" found that the City of Manhattan had a population of 51,600 when some wanted the City to be above 50,000 so we would get the big bucks from the Federal Government. When the 2000 Census came out six months later the City population had to be dropped to 46,400.
That was the same report that stated that Manhattan needed 3,000 new low income units over the next five years. We still have remnants of the old City Commission using that "Study" to justify more spending.
Now for the new study:
It may have some new ideas...but it is hard to get around the old ideas. Some have been advocating a new hotel - convention center here for years. Ten years ago they were trying to get someone to put in a high-rise hotel - convention center with a skywalk to the Mall.
In two different places this report makes it plain: "A conference/convention center is not warranted." And in both places the report goes on to tell how it should be put in.
In the Executive Summary printed on this page it state: "Because of the solid but limited increase in total demand, the risk to a private developer of building a full-service conference/convention motel or a free-standing meeting building is great."
In other words a private developer will look at a Hotel and Convention Center in Manhattan as a way to loose money. Then the report goes on with: "Proceeding with either project requires a public-private partnership to reduce the financial risk." What about the risk to the City of Manhattan?
Two months ago the City of Wichita purchased a hotel from their "private" partner because it did not work. If it will not work in Wichita, why would it work in Manhattan?
In the full report it states: "A conference/convention center is not warranted because survey results indicate demand for such large meeting space which is not already available is less than three weeks annually and the supply of sleeping rooms is more than adequate, except for those time periods and for the 15 to 20 days per year highly attended events are scheduled by KSU."
But three paragraphs later it states: "Therefore, Manhattan’s response to its future conference/convention market may take one of two approaches: a well located full service motel or an independently sited meeting facility."
If the "risk is great" and it is "not warranted" for a private developer, why would the City want to become a partner? It is because some people "want" a Hotel with a Convention Center.
That is not sound reasoning for a small city that is deep in debt.