Storm Cunningham, the keynote speaker at this year's Hamilton Economic Summit, wrote an op-ed in today's Toronto Star on Hamilton's Pan Am stadium dispute:
The Ticats are putting $15 million into the new stadium and worry they won't make as much money downtown. But a University of Maryland study showed that downtown stadiums have larger benefits than suburban stadiums. With the Pan Am infrastructure and other enhancements, the Ticats might sell more tickets downtown.
That's what happened in Indianapolis and Baltimore. All Indianapolis sports facilities are downtown, generating loads of foot traffic and commercial activity.
Baltimore's revitalized Inner Harbor used a "critical mass" strategy, simultaneously creating many attractions in a pedestrian-friendly waterfront environment. Visitors "cross-fertilize" among Camden Yards baseball, National Aquarium, shopping, concerts and waterfront promenade. That concentration motivates visitors to travel from further afield, thus expanding the market. Hamilton's great waterfront parks, marinas and promenade put it well ahead of Baltimore's ugly starting point.
The entire essay is well worth reading for its larger perspective on the role of this stadium in the city's overall trajectory of development.
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