Once again, the ill-conceived Desert Discovery Center/Desert Edge (DDC) is dividing and hurting Scottsdale.
That’s the only clear takeaway after last night’s Scottsdale City Council hearing.
To explain what happened allow us to provide a little history.
Scottsdale Stadium has been an integral part of downtown for decades. It’s there that legions of baseball fans from San Francisco and the country over descend to spend money and enjoy spring training.
Recently, there’s been talk of upgrades to Scottsdale Stadium that would come from a variety of public and private sources, including the team, with taxpayer contributions coming from the city’s tourism tax revenues. Tourism taxes for a proven tourism generator that is a public facility. Seems to make a lot of sense.
There’s only one problem. The more tourism tax monies get used for Scottsdale Stadium the less there might be for the Big Bombastic Boondoogle (er DDC) in the desert. Actually, we don’t view that as a problem. We view that as a secondary benefit to the primary one of up-keeping a community crown jewel.
But three councilmembers didn’t share our opinion Tuesday night. Instead, Councilmembers Milhaven, Korte and Smith sought to transfer upgrades to Scottsdale Stadium from tourism tax rolls onto those for property taxes that would fund all the improvements called for in the community bond.
How unnecessary. How unfortunate. How unwise. Seeing the shell game at hand, the balance of the council rejected the notion and said no to referring the bond plan at all in 2018.
So, now, not only is the Desert Discover Center a useless academic discussion since it is a project that will never be, it just cost Scottsdale a critical chance to improve itself, or at least vote on it, with long overdue infrastructure projects later this year.
In case anyone was still trying to discover the merits, politically or otherwise of this project, here’s yet another reason to push it right over the edge.