Go forward slowly and do the due diligence necessary to make the best decision. That's our advice to city leaders who plan to review the pros and cons of building an ice rink downtown that could handle hockey teams from across the region. Yes, yes, we know hockey is not in the top 10 on the list of most popular sports, but if there is a market it just might be a good fit for downtown.
The Frost-Parker Foundation recently provided $15,000 to pay for a feasibility study that will help determine whether it could work. That's a first step, but city officials will have to insist the study be independent and conducted without any bias toward a green light. And then the results of that study will have to be reviewed with extreme care to make sure it's an accurate reflection of the potential profitability of the idea. They will need to go beyond the results and look at every possible scenario. The last thing needed right now is a project with weak legs that could propel the city deeper into debt.
Part of that due diligence likely will be to look at other cities that have pursued similar development paths: Are those efforts profitable? Was the company that made the promises of profitability to other communities accurate in the predictions it made? The answers to those questions will be key.
But the very consideration of this idea is a good sign. City leaders are taking a hard look at new ideas that might serve to benefit the city in the future, and they are doing that in an open and transparent way.
And that's a good thing.