Non-transparency of Ice Pavilion raises questions about Sal Maglie RFP

The Dyster administration is back at it again, trying to find an operator for Sal Maglie Stadium. The mayor’s first pass at landing a manager and promoter for the historic, but dilapidated, sports facility didn’t go so well and the Reporter wrote at length about it last year. At that time Dyster’s non-transparent designs for Sal Maglie sank like a stone as the mayor’s preferred stadium pro-moter withdrew his proposal.

Two weeks ago we wrote a column regarding the mayor’s newly announced Request for Proposals for the stadium. That column noted that while the stadium was currently on the RFP table, we be-lieved it was time for the council and mayor to immediately reveal and report on all of the costs and contractual ins and outs of the ice pavilion. We think the residents who are footing the bill for a $http://southbuffalonews.com4 million ice pavilion renovation that was supposed to cost $4 million deserve a full account-ing of what’s on ice over there on Robbins Drive. So far the silence on a full reveal of the ice pavil-ion unending renovation has been deafening. Neither mayor nor council nor the law department are saying a word.

And it’s the handling and non-transparency of the ice pavilion that has us doubting the admin-istration’s plans for Sal Maglie Stadium. Forgive us for being skeptical when it comes to Mayor Dyster’s true motives but this isn’t our first rodeo.

We’ve watched the ice pavilion cost climb out of sight. We’re watching the train station go forward with not one dollar budgeted for daily operation. The $50 million court house and its annual $2.3 million finance charge was a taxpayer boondoggle of Pentagon proportions. Because of this we see another curiously costly city hall enterprise up ahead.

Before the stadium was sent out to RFP the administration should have made public a full report as to the conditions of the property: integrity of the structure…concrete, electric, current compli-ance with all building and health codes, condition of locker rooms, condition of vendor facilities, condition and suitability of the grounds for modern sports play, parking lot conditions and oper-ating costs of the past ten years for both city and school district. In addition to this the administra-tion should have conducted an internal study regarding the potential entertainment market for the stadium.

This is after all a sport facility for baseball, football and perhaps soccer and lacrosse. It’s not a modern domed stadium and it’s not a conference center…it will host sports played on grass and so a quick and dirty review of the possible market doesn’t require a $50,000 consultant report. Which is exactly what we suspect Mayor Dyster is going to do.

In fact, we have a suspicious feeling that first comes the preferred operator and then comes the consultant and then comes the ice-pavilion-like boondoggle of ongoing consultant engineering reports and endless renovations. The taxpayers can hardly afford another multimillion dollar wasteful and totally non transparent sports facility “renovation.” We believe that this is likely what’s going to happen. Mayor Dyster and the council have yet to detail where the ice pavilion $http://southbuffalonews.com4 million went and how the building earns a bottom line profit for the city. Would the mayor and his friendly council let another boondoggle monster loose in the city, this time in the form of a stadi-um project? Of course they would.

At the end of the day what we find hard to accept is the fact that as the city struggles under the yoke of $65 million in debt, $7.4 million in deficit, and has blown through $90 million in casino cash, Mayor Dyster continues to plow ahead, unchallenged and unquestioned, with a secretive agenda.

 

Sal Maglie Stadium playing field.

Sal Maglie Stadium playing field.

IceRink

One of two rinks at the Ice Pavilion in Hyde Park


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