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Letter: County should stop investing in convention center

Letter: County should stop investing in convention center

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Edward Jones Dome

The scene outside what was then known as the Edward Jones Dome, before the start of a St. Louis Rams game in 2015. If the XFL starts play in 2020 as planned, the 65,000-seat stadium -- now known as the Dome at America's Center -- will be home to the St. Louis franchise. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Regarding "St. Louis County Council delays funds for America’s Center expansion" (Sept. 1): In my opinion, it would make no sense for the St. Louis County Council to approve bonds to expand America’s Center, the downtown convention center. The $240 million would be better spent meeting the many needs of the county currently going unmet.

The $720 million cost for the dome/convention center will soon be paid off. The city and county will pay $180 million each, and the state is providing $360 million. Supporters of the convention center expansion want the city and county to continue paying $6 million a year, as they have for the dome, only this time for 40 years. The state will not take part.

In the late 1980s, the dome was promoted as a "transformational" project that would revitalize downtown and be an economic driver for the entire region. Of course, that wasn't true, and now some of the same deceptive arguments are being used again.

Another deception that's been told to the St. Louis County Council is that revenue from the hotel/motel tax can only be used to promote tourism. That isn't true. The enabling state law makes it clear the county's only obligation is to pay for the dome. Revenue beyond that can be used for any "general revenue purpose."

Sending $240 million more to downtown St. Louis for another boondoggle would be completely irresponsible.

Tom Sullivan • University City  

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