Here is a short list of what bothers us about the new Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) building that is nearing completion in downtown Grapevine.
In the majority of press releases and articles on the new CVB building you will typically find a quote like this: “This project, built entirely from funds provided by hotel occupancy taxes, provides Grapevine citizens with a direct benefit from tourism revenue.”
Now you might ask why that would bother us. The answer is that it seems disingenuous. It feels a little bit like walking by the guy on the street in New York City who places a ball under one of three shells and then shuffles the shells around and wants you to guess where the ball is.
In reality, we do not care where the funding comes from. To us there is a rather sizeable pool of funds that go in and out of the Grapevine city government to handle operations of the city. Breaking down that rather sizeable pool into smaller pools and then shuffling things around so that you can claim funds from x paid for projects y and z does us as the local taxpayer very little good.
The cost is important to note and accuracy on the cost is important. We have seen articles from several sources with differing amounts. The total cost of this project is $13,795,000. It is clearly stated in the city budget. If you need help finding it you can just click here. It’s on page 238.
Was this a good use of over $13 million of our city’s funds? Recently, we read this quote out of the Grapevine Courier.
Police Chief Eddie Salame has said there’s a “serious need” for a new police station. The Police Department has outgrown the existing 33-year-old station, and the city jail lacks certain modern safety features and adequate space for arraignment hearings and for inmate visitation, he has said.
Instead of upgrading our police station which is in “serious need” the city decided to create a monument to the Convention and Visitors Bureau so that they can “all be in one place.” The new CVB facility will be complete with museum, clock tower, extra meeting space, and green technology.
We might guess that Police Chief Salame could have operated a new facility sufficiently without a new clock tower. But that’s just a guess. Maybe the Chief can use some of the meeting space over at the new CVB building to hold arraignment hearings and inmate visitation.
We won’t even mention the fire stations that were built so long ago that they do not have women’s restrooms and are in need of upgrading as well. Okay, so we mentioned it.
Here’s a radical idea: Let’s figure out how to use some of the city’s funds to improve the facilities of the people who protect and serve the people of this great city.
As an added note of interest, the scheduled spring opening of the new Convention and Visitors Bureau building has been delayed until the June or July time frame. According to P.W. McCallum of the CVB, part of the blame is on the 40 days of weather delays we have had in the area. We wonder what this does to the budgeted costs on the project.