Greg Edds Fights for a Convention Center Nobody Wants at the West End Plaza. This is Even Bigger than his Giant Clown Signs

Posted on January 16, 2017

Todd Paris, Staff Writer and Salisbury Attorney

♦ At the recent Rowan County Commission Annual Planning Work session this week it was revealed that the architectural firm in charge of renovations and repairs has identified an additional $22 million in “needs” at West End Plaza. It is not clear if these needs are included in or in addition to the over ten million dollars in projected expense to move DSS and the Health Department to the West End Plaza as originally envisioned by the Sides Commission.

Once again the Commission Chairman Greg Edds, “The Warrior for Waste”, proposed a Convention Center at the West End Plaza. Now it is revealed that local hotel owners sent word to the commission they don’t have enough rooms to service such a facility, yet Edds appears to ignore the advice of these hotel experts and forge ahead with the same “if you build it they will come” mentality that created the Fibrant debacle and built a soon to be abandoned county baseball park in North Kannapolis. (I give credit to Jim Sides for dumping that debacle off on the City of Kannapolis.)

It might be noted that Commissioners Pierce, Greene, and Caskey have violated paragraph 6 of Chairman Edd’s “Declaration of Co-dependency” in that they have not resolved this controversy quickly and quietly” and in additionally they violate paragraph 7 in clearly focusing on “activities” and not “outcomes.” Perhaps they did not get Edd’s email. But then again, they have not signed it.
My stance on building a convention center five miles away from the interstate is well known and I have already weighed in on the issue:

Media and confidential sources within government report that even in far more prosperous Cabarrus County’s event center still continues to operate at a huge deficit and has not created development as envisioned by their commission. Like the West End Plaza, it sits far away from the I-85 stream of commerce and any local hotels. However, unlike Rowan, Cabarrus can afford to handle the deficit.

The City of Salisbury, for all their foibles, paid for studies a few years back with an idea of building a convention center downtown. Professionals surveyed businesses to see how likely they would be to move their convention to such a facility and were roundly “panned.” Even the grandfathers and grandmothers of the Fibrant debacle walked away from this idea. Companies have conventions and events at the beach or the mountains as a “carrot” to get employees and vendors to come. Spouses and children can play on the beach or look at the “fall colors” while business folks learn about new products and processes.

Commissioners Caskey and Greene both call for feasibility studies to be commissioned to determine if this massive convention center is feasible. Commissioner Pierce made it clear he does not support the idea. Klusman usually votes with Edds.

No expensive studies need to be made. The City of Salisbury probably would provide a copy of theirs. The Commission needs to “just say no” to Edd’s latest “crackpot” idea. While I am sure he is in desperate need of one good idea to establish his legacy to run for higher office in a few years, this one needs to be shoveled into his “dustbin of failure” along with his I-85 “clown signs,” his infamously unoriginal re-branding effort (Be an Original) and his Indiana-copied “Declaration of Interdependence.”

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