Fruitless spending

The Minneapolis City Council’s current membership has a history of subsidizing corporate projects designed more to encourage spending downtown than to serve the public good. The Target Center’s New York operators have plans to spend $30 million for renovations designed to compete with St. Paul’s new hockey arena, and they want the city council to help fund the expensive and wasteful venture. Although the city owns the Target Center and should properly maintain it, this plan is not in Minneapolis taxpayers’ best interest and should be voted down by the council members when it comes before them in the coming months.
The Pioneer Press reported Wednesday that the SFX Corp. has drawn up renovation plans that include a new club seating section, food upgrades and a scoreboard similar to one in the St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center. Although the newspaper reported that two council members predicted the money would be approved, the council would be wise to consider spending more money on projects that actually benefit taxpayers, like addressing Minneapolis’ severe shortage of affordable housing.
Yesterday, we argued against publicly financing the Nicollet Mall Target Stores project, as such public subsidies can quickly spiral beyond original budget projections. Originally estimated at $35 million, the plans’s cost to the city has reached $126 million and might rise further.
Already overpriced tickets for Target Center events would likely increase if the renovation proposal passes, limiting even further the benefits citizens would receive from the plan.