Russ Gibb at Random

Hang On To Your Wallet

January 27, 2002

Since it opened to the public in September, the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center's entertainment productions have been plagued by low attendance. Reportedly, productions during the first three months of operation lost $75,000.

The 1,201 seat auditorium didn't even draw a full house when admission was free. Upfront fees and related expenses for performances such as Melissa Manchester and Lou Rawls, were subsidized by the city. And there is no accounting for the work hours put in my recreational staffers or utility costs.

On the recreation side of the facility, city officials projected the sales of athletic memberships would bring in $1.32 million. Halfway through the fiscal year, memberships have only hit $318,000. No wonder our Mayor is offering half price memberships to city employees.

How much longer will his honor, Mayor Guido, be able to fool Dearborn voters into paying and paying and paying again, for the monumental glass edifice at Michigan and Greenfield?

Remember that the center was to be funded originally by a $23 million bond that you and I are paying for. Then when the cost went up to $46 million, money was siphoned from senior citizen funds and city projects to fill the gap.

- Susan Moore

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