Buncombe TDA approves $22.9M for McCormick Field, largest investment in its history

Scene from Tourists' season opener

From the Asheville Citizen-Times:

ASHEVILLE – A funding plan for a $37.5 million McCormick Field renovation supposedly hinged on a single vote from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority July 26. With commitments secured from the city, Buncombe County and Asheville’s own minor league baseball team, the TDA buy-in was the final piece needed.

The vote, which needed a supermajority, failed. Twenty minutes later, in an unusual move, the board voted again. This time, one of the two holdouts, Scott Patel, switched sides, giving the TDA’s $22.9 million investment the seven-vote approval it needed — and cementing the Tourism Product Development Fund’s largest investment in its 20-year history, according to TDA spokesperson Ashley Greenstein.

Vic Isley, president and CEO of Explore Asheville and the BCTDA, commended what she called a “monumental” decision, which some board members called the biggest vote in the board’s history, and urged people “not just to think about it as baseball.”

For those who can access it, the complete article is available at https://bit.ly/453Zm9H.

Here is some critical commentary by Moe Davis:

Ohio’s multimillionaire/anti-abortion/voter suppression Republican Governor Mike DeWine is getting a better stadium for his Asheville Anti-Abortionists … I mean Asheville Tourist … baseball team and local folks are getting a tax increase!
It will take a total of $55.6 million tax dollars to fund corporate welfare for the welfare-averse rightwing governor’s baseball stadium. According to the article, the team sells 179,500 tickets a year. Tickets cost on average about $10. If you divide $55.6 million by 20 years, that’s $2.78 million a year for the next two decades. If you divide $2.78 million by 179,500 attendees per year, that’s a $15.49 tax dollar subsidy for every $10 ticket sold. Even if they double attendance, tax dollars would still be kicking in $7.74 a head for every game DeWine’s team plays in Asheville. Cha-Ching for Mike DeWine! I bet a lot of locally owned businesses would love to get a fat tax-funded subsidy for their businesses, but apparently they’ll need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps the way Mike DeWine believes people struggling to put food on their tables and a roof over their heads should do rather than sucking on the government’s teat.