by Michael Lowrey
Catching up on stuff. So it seems that the city is asking Wells Fargo and Bank of America to forgive a $19 million ($21 million with interest) loan for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Why is the city doing this? Well, this quote from the UPoR sums up the situation nicely:
The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which manages the hall for the city, said […] that the hall lost $1.4 million for the fiscal year that ended in June.
In the previous year, the loss was $1.6 million.
The CRVA is optimistic that the hall’s finances are stabilizing, as attendance has essentially leveled off.
Attendance at the hall this year was 169,724, down from 176,838 visitors in 2012-2013. The CRVA had originally estimated the hall would attract about 400,000 visitors annually.
“We feel good about stabilization,” said CRVA chief executive Tom Murray.
No one operating a business would ever feel good about “stabilizing” at losing $1.4 million a year. Nor should taxpayers feel good about running a $1.4 million a year deficit on a museum that commemorates a family-owned for-profit business. Or, again, like with the National Whitewater Center, have banks write off loans for local economic development projects — at some point no bank will be willing to offer such loans. The NASCAR Hall of Fame, the project that keeps take from local taxpayers.