As a result of my first “letter to the editor”, many more questions have come to my attention, so I decided to get some answers. Here are the questions and the answers that have come up:
- Who are the people that are “working” at the Petition locations and where are they getting their mis-information? After visiting a number of locations, and talking with 3 in particular, I was told they are from Oregon or Washington; are not union members; and are paid by the “labor bosses” for each signature they obtain, whether it is valid or not. I was told they were given information to say to folks and that 2 of the 3 had never heard of Turtle Bay or the Hotel until they were told what to say when they came to Redding.
- Where did the exorbitant number (over $4 million) that has come up as to the value of the property come from, and is it accurate? Absolutely not. No one seems to know for sure, other than it was stated by a citizen that testified at the Council meeting. In reality, the value testified to by the three appraisals by fully qualified MAI appraisers were all lower than what the purchase price actually was. Furthermore, the statement made that it is “riverfront” is very misleading and inaccurate. It is not riverfront property, but rather an extension of the current un-paved and largely un-used parking area just to the east of the present entrance to the Civic Center-Turtle Bay area, roughly one quarter of a mile from the river, with no access to the river. Lastly, the fact that the property has an 88 year lease severely limiting its use devalued the property significantly.
- The McConnell Foundation is going to buy the property then sell it immediately for a profit, is non-sense. The Foundation, as is widely known in the north state, is an organization dedicated to improving the education and cultural environment throughout the area. Both Mr. and Mrs. McConnell had “deep roots” in the north state, with Mrs. McConnell being born and raised in Siskiyou County. Mr. McConnell loved the outdoors, sports, and recreation in the north state, thus investing here some 60 years ago. The mandate given by the McConnell’s to “give back” to the north state still determines the current mission of the Foundation. The hotel is the most recent effort to continue to support cultural activities in the area…this time again, Turtle Bay.
- Who will gain financially from this hotel? Clearly, the City of Redding and indirectly, Shasta County (by property tax). In addition, the financial gain will the good wages and salaries to the many families benefiting from the many jobs that are being created. Initially there will be over 85 construction jobs all going to local contractors, some of them union companies. Then, the hotel will initially employ 70 permanent employees which will grow to at least 80 as business develops. This will be in addition to our local businesses that will provide goods and services to support the hotel, from paper products to beverage services. The financial gain to the City of Redding is a huge factor, with over $700,000 going to the City general fund from hotel sales and property taxes alone. Over 20 years, this is a $14 million dollar “gift” that is all new money to the City. This will allow for a number of additional officers and hires for both the police and fire departments, as well as much needed improvements to our streets and city infra-structure. The dollars impacting the local economy from both the Turtle Bay expenditures, the hotel expenditures, and the expenditures by visitors is also most impressive, totaling over millions….all benefiting Redding and Shasta County. (Note: all financial numbers can be verified by information submitted to the City staff in preparation for the Council presentation).
So, in summary, when you start looking at all of the facts, the project becomes even more attractive and convincing. To use a well-used phrase, this is a total “win-win” for all….Turtle Bay, the City, the County, the entire construction and service industry, and all of the citizens and visitors in the North State.