"In the first major decision of its new term, a narrowly divided City Council
agreed to build an $18.8 million aquatics center at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The 5-4 vote reaffirms a decision made by the previous council Dec. 1.
That decision calls for using $12 million in voter-approved bonds
and about $7 million in hotel tax revenue to build the center.
Mayor Bill Knight and council members Mary Rakestraw, Trudy Wade and Danny Thompson
voted against the construction contract and the use of the hotel tax revenue.
...But in the end, council members
Nancy Vaughan, Jim Kee, Robbie Perkins,
T. Dianne Bellamy-Small and Zack Mathenyvoted down that suggestion and approved the funding as originally passed.
...Opponents expressed concerns about the cost of the center.
“Where are we going to get the funds if this thing costs more money?”
resident Richard Hyde asked. “Are we going to increase taxes?”
Resident Joe Guarino and other speakers argued that residents were misled.
“If you approve this proposal,
you would be making yourself a party to all the deception that has taken place,” Guarino said.
Bob Malekoff, a professor of sports studies at Guilford College,
urged the council to hold off on making a decision
until more information about the economic impact could be obtained.
He said it is difficult to accurately estimate the economic impact.
The $14 million suggested by local tourism officials is likely flawed or incomplete, he said.
Hill Carrow, who helped come up with that estimate,
said the economics could be debated.
But his suggested schedule of 12 major meets a year is solid , he said"