Is One Big Sky District Practical?

Dear Editor,

Hammes /Landmark LLC, is both conducting the feasibility studies and would also be the developer of One Big Sky District (OBSD). Over $500,000 of taxpayer generated funds, meant for this “study”, are also being used to lobby our elected officials and the public, on the need for this $2.5 billion joint business venture. This is an egregious conflict of interests.

Professor Heywood Sanders Ph.D. in his exhaustive book “Convention Center Follies” destroys the notion that convention centers contribute to urban economic development. Instead, he describes how convention centers are promoted, but fail to deliver on their promised benefits, showing how forecasts have been manipulated and proven false. “Only a tiny handful of convention centers in the U.S. actually make an operating profit.” And “some lose humongous amounts of money”.

Our County Commissioners have told us that taxpayers are currently subsidizing MetraPark and that a new convention center such as OBSD would compete directly with this venue. Will taxpayers now be required to fund and subsidize both MetraPark and OBSD, and by extension downtown businesses?

The IMF is warning that another global recession is looming by 2020, and that governments and financial institutions are not properly prepared. It would therefore be prudent to limit risky and questionable multi-billion dollar ventures that are NOT based on either sound economic principles or sound business practices.

Please contact your representatives to let them know that OBSD is way too risky, too dangerous, and will be an unnecessary burden for our city and its residents.

 Mae Woo

Billings, Montana