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VOG

it is Ms. Eaton's fault when she does not present realistic numbers and expectations to the City Council. Sorry VOG, but on this one we may not see eye to eye.

Why don't they compare the success of the local CC with the one in Cabarrus County. They are the only two facilities in NC managed by SMG.

I never said SMG was anything but a first class organization. I did say that from their website they appear to be focused on larger sites, some as large as 200,000 square feet. And from the website, clearly Wilmington is the smallest facility managed.

What should be done? Good question

First, get some straight answers as to revenues produced versus total expenses incurred; and that includes management fees paid to SMG as well as debt service.

If it's a money loser; and the trend is for a continued downturn in convention and meeting activity, then non-renew or cancel the SMG contract.

Also, remember it is a convention center and not a fine arts center. Some of the baseball proponents continue to try to sow confusion on this very topic in an effort to show how wonderful and profitable the convention center is.

Maybe the answer is to convert it from a CC to a Performing Arts Center. Maybe an art museum.

They may need to think outside of the box. Look north to Norfolk. They took an underperforming building near the harbor; made some modest modifications; and viola, it became the Douglas McArthur Museum; if you've never been there, it is worth the trip.

Second, once the financial drain is known, and it appears to be increasing from the link you provided, the city should bring in an unbiased professional consultant to determine what, if anything, can be done to stem the flow of tax payer dollars into the bottomless pit. Is there a better use for the CC then currently being pursued?

They were willing to spend thousands to try to promote that river front albatross before it was even approved; financing arranged; or ground broken. Why not drop a few on the existing white elephant to determine, professionally, if the white elephant can be tamed and put to at least break even use.

If no corrective measure can be identified, then perhaps the city should repudiate the debt, they do that abroad all of the time -- Cuba and Venezuala are famous for it.

Then create the International Curling Foundation with its headquarters and museum located in the existing White Elephant.

With the ice surface which would be installed, you could hold curling tournaments as well as minor-minor league ice hockey. Fayetteville has the Fire Antz; perhaps Wilmington can have the Sand Crabs or Sand Fleas. Add to that the Ice Capades.

Just a tongue in cheek thought or two.

But something needs to change on how the CC is managed.

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