Cartoon: Crank it up!

Evanston aldermen this week voted to spend big bucks to raise the roof on a city-owned building on Howard Street so a theater group can move into it. Ponzi doubts the project make financial sense.

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City makes arts bet on Howard Street
Theater group seeks Howard Street space

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Comments

Ponzi, do you have any better

Ponzi, do you have any better ideas for the use of this building?
Are there many potential tenants who want to move onto Howard?
The City could just let it stay empty, thereby guaranteeing a loss of money forever...
Or maybe Ponzi thinks that the City should not have purchased this building...but what was on the site before?  A storefront church....not paying taxes, and not generating business on Howard.
Ann Rainey's plan to have the City purchase the building and make it available to a group that will generate activity on Howard, and encourage further development, makes sense.
Does Ponzi have any serious alternative?  Enquiring minds want to know.

Evanston home owner = loss of money forever

 I can't speak for Ponzi, but my alternative would be to let private investors take these types of risks.  In return,  lower business taxes across the board(not just in TIF areas) to encourage new business. Let investors take the risks, and let them keep more of their profits. Reduce overhead costs of start-up, reduce red tape for permits. 
Then,  get rid of "special" tax payer funded grants to connected business owners (i.e. the favored business districts in town, or in the special case of Hecky Powell a new facade on his building).  Eliminate "studies" to see whether or not a business idea might work(varsity theater, windmill).  Why not eliminate the entire line item that goes for "economic development" expenditures.   With your own money, would you "invest" and then never look at the return?  Of course not, but when does city council ever discuss whether these economic development "investments" actually worked?  New council members/new election= not my problem that the investment failed
  Encourage investments on Howard street by doing a better job policing.  Reduce crime.  Make people feel safe at night there. 
Then, use the extra tax money to improve the community gathering places that we already have including parks, libraries, rec. centers, retirement places.
When the city continues trying to cut the service centers we have, it hardly seems like the time to start adding more- like this theater.

That Didn't Work...

Granted, this is not the best example, but Mayor Tisdahl nixed the idea of a Tilted Kilt franchise setting up shop in downtown Evanston.  Something about community standards.
On the other hand, public funds were used for a "build it, and they will come" scheme for a theatre venue in an area of town that's trying to become up-and-coming (a euphamism for a blighted area), this despite the fact that the town is facing some rather large unfunded pension obligations:
http://evanstonnow.com/story/government/bill-smith/2011-06-27/evanston-debt-level-among-highest-in-county
 

Use of buildings

Dr. Who Knows What:
Since you have an enquiring mind with a fixation on certain buildings, such as the Civic Center, how about making that a comedy theater.  The most hilarious actions occur there. Especially where money is concerned. Would you recommend a TIRF  {That's Is Really Funny) zone?