Not to rain on anyone's parade, but the announcement this weekend of a $325 million redevelopment plan for the foot of Main Street poses many questions that need to be answered in the days, weeks and months ahead.
These questions include:
What's the precise mix of public and private funding? What would the public money go towards?
Beyond grants, what other subsidies are potentially involved, such as tax breaks granted under the Empire Zone program and Erie County Industrial Development Agency?
What market research and analysis has been conducted to support the recommendation?
Where will the customers come from? To what degree would they be local residents vs. out-of-towners who would bring new money into our economy?
What's the anticipated mix of chains vs. local businesses?
Would the two hotels included in the plan be subsidized? What would be their impact on downtown's struggling hotel industry? Has this been studied?
What would be the impact of this project on the downtown core, which continues to have problems supporting retail and commercial office space? Has this been studied?
What cost-benefit analysis has been performed? If one has, what does it show?
Will design standards require buildings be constructed to LEED (green) standards?
What experts, if any, in urban design and development were consulted?
How many jobs would be created? How well will they pay?
Will Bass Pro, the lynchpin of this plan, succeed, especially given the economy's foreseeable struggles in the future? What happens if it doesn't?
What parties stand to benefit financially from this undertaking?
Can anything succeed at the foot of Main Street with the Skyway running through the middle of it?
Is this the best and highest use of the public dollars involved?
I plan to delve into these questions and others. What have I overlooked?