Saturday, December 24, 2005

Editorial on stadium deal

APP editorial on the hockey stadium:

Before endorsing a plan for Lakewood to build a hockey arena next to FirstEnergy Park, township officials should carefully examine the financial risks involved. They would not only own the arena, which would house the New Jersey Devils' minor league hockey franchise, but would also guarantee the bonds to build it, a project estimated to cost $40 million to $50 million.
The park is the highly successful home of the Lakewood BlueClaws minor league baseball team. What works for baseball could be expected to work for hockey, especially in an area where the sport is growing in popularity from the youth level on up. The opportunity to see professional hockey at a fraction of the price of a Devils game and without the travel hassles is attractive.
The primary concern is the economic risk to taxpayers. State Sen. Robert W. Singer, R-Ocean, also a Lakewood Township Committee member, says the construction could be paid off if the 7 acres needed for the arena are designated as a Revenue Allocation District, a new designation for New Jersey. That would allow the district's tax revenue to pay off the bonds.
Singer and other proponents must justify using revenue generated in that district solely for the arena bonds rather than applying them to meet municipal needs. They also must provide more specifics about costs.
Another concern is the 7-acre parcel itself. It is township-owned land that is among 240 acres under contract to Cedarbridge Development Corp. Cedarbridge has an agreement with the township to create a high-tech office park and age-restricted housing on land next to the BlueClaws' stadium. Cedarbridge must relinquish its rights to the 7 acres. But at what cost to the township?
Among the selling points in building an arena in conjunction with the Devils are its multiple uses. In addition to the Devils' minor leaguers, the arena can host hockey leagues and tournaments plus concerts, the circus and other events booked for the Devils' new arena in Newark. Officials must determine whether shows at the 17,500-seat Newark arena can translate to the 7,000-seat Lakewood setting. They should also assess the strength of the market for entertainment given its proximity to the Strand Theater in Lakewood, the Ritacco Center in Dover Township and the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank.
Singer and others say the hurdles are not insurmountable. Give them credit for thinking big, buoyed by the success of the baseball stadium, in devising ways to bring tax ratables to the township. But a project of this kind demands careful scrutiny.
posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 5:50 PM


Anonymous Lakewood Yid said...

The APP cares more about the oilam's money then The VAAD and the RY's

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this the last 7 acres of land in Lakewood so that it has to conflict with cedarbridge?

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something doesn't smell right.
They got the cedarbridge 240 acres for a dollar & no taxes for upteen years, they did almost nothing in bringing the high tech to cedarbridge -NOW the township is awarding them with a couple of million dollars for the vote?

10:39 PM  

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