snoqueen wrote:We cannot afford to build a huge amount of infrastructure hoping an obsolete business/professional/academic networking model will revive. I think the city should put its development dollars into cultivating permanent small- to medium-size businesses in the downtown, the east side, and the airport/MATC area all of which are underutilized. Spreading our development resources among a number of businesses instead of just one (conferences/conventions) seems wiser than putting all the eggs in one basket.
While using the money to attempt to icrease vitality in underused areas is a great ideal to aspire to, this would simply help money that is already in Dane County exchange hands, which would happen anyway. The fact of the matter is that while technology changes the nature of the game, this type of market is far from dead which is proven by the Millions of dollars in Tax revenue created by such gatherings in Madison every year. If we are able to draw in new conventions, or even keep the conventions we already have, then this is money coming into Dane County from other areas which would in turn create tax revenue, which gives us more money to develop these underused areas.
The Downtown area is pretty much completely supported by Visitors that come in for the UW and Convetntions, yet still manages to produce more tax revenue than any other area in Dane County.
In addition, many large scale businesses are drawn to headquarter in Madison because they are able to host such great conventions and events, which once again leads to more tax revenue.
And while the convention mentioned above has been in Madison 3 of the last 10 years, there are a number of conventions that choose the same location year after year. Besides, 3 of 10 years is better than 0 of 10 years.