May 152018

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Commons Convention Center – bad idea!

I believe that the idea of building a convention center in the heart of Newport would bring many unhappy consequences for the citizens of Lincoln County.

One major consequence that would affect all of us would be a huge increase in traffic on our our already often impassable Hwy 101. And questioning the cost to our communities and citizens for increased tourism and traffic should be an important aspect of planning. Would citizens at-large reap benefits, or just the restaurants and hotels? The Chamber of Commerce reports that a successful tourist industry with millions of visitors each year already exists in Lincoln County. And we already have several large facilities that host conventions.

It is essential for us to question, and understand, the enormous multi-million dollar upfront costs, and the half-million dollar annual subsidy that would fall on Lincoln County taxpayers. Even the County Commissioners admit the money available today and the so-called Common’s plan don’t add up. Don’t you need to know how you are going to pay for something before you make a plan to build it?

Many of us support having a Fairgrounds and 4-H in our county. Having it in the center of Newport is not the best, or only place, available. How about considering and exploring where other Lincoln County cities want it — such as in Waldport, Toledo, or on the tribal lands at the north end of Lincoln City?

It is important for a plan of this scope that the citizens affected and paying for it, come to meetings, ask questions, and listen carefully to the answers given. Leaving such an important and costly decision to three County Commissioners and one County Attorney is not prudent or responsible. Fair Board meetings are held the second Thursday of every month at the Lincoln County Courthouse. Board of Commissioner meetings are held every Wednesday at 9:30 at the Courthouse. Supposedly, two more Master Plan presentations will be scheduled soon. Please plan to attend and speak up against the convention center.

Dorothy Stern-Kucha
Depoe Bay

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