by Locker Room contributor
Some folks in Jacksonville, NC have been pushing to build a new taxpayer-funded convention center for a long time. But the effort hasn?t really gone according to plan:
Sometimes it seems that talk about a civic center in downtown Jacksonville has gone on for nearly as long as it?s taken to build the U.S. 17 bypass.
In fact, that?s a large exaggeration. But it?s a perception based on the amount of heated debate over the controversial project, which seemed so close to reality in 2003, but so far away now.
January 2003 was when the city council voted 4-2 to enter into a preliminary agreement with a Chicago-based development firm to build a civic center and hotel on property off Marine Boulevard. Today, however, the project is without a developer and likely short on the space to erect the kind of facility city leaders envisioned.
Apparently, some believe that this is bad news for Jacksonville. No, given the futility of chasing convention business, it?s really great news ? news that Raleigh taxpayers would have loved to read in their local newspaper rather than this.