Convention Center Question? Ask the PR Flacks


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Recently, a Nashville resident we're going to call Mr. Curious e-mailed his Council representative the following question:
Mr. BLANK, I live at BLANK. I think I am in your district. My question is how do I find out more information on the convention center? I am interested in the projections Nashville CVB is using to determine future demand. It seems to me technology and a desire to be energy efficient will change the face of the convention business. What is your current thinking?
Mr. Curious thinks the convention business is changing. This makes him one smart dude. Our fearlessly engaged citizen then attended the debate between Nashville CVB president Butch Spyridon and meetings industry Cassandra Heywood Sanders. Mr. Curious was not impressed:
Mr. BLANK, I don't know whether or not you were at yesterday's discussion at Vanderbilt but I hope you were. After yesterday's meeting it is apparent that Nashville wants to move forward and believes we are special enough to overcome market forces but it is also apparent that the group recommending the New Convention Center has failed to take a critical look at the "largest project in Nashville's history." I surely hope that you will use your vote and influence to at least slow the process down long enough to look at new scenarios that are quite possible if not highly probable.
Holy crap. Not only is Mr. Curious curious, he's also insightful enough to see through the city's flawed logic: That simply because we've got some honkytonks, an NFL team and a sweet skyscraper shaped like a superheroes mask, we're somehow going to reverse the flow of an industry's decade-long decline. I'm starting to like this guy. I sure hope answers his question...
I wanted to update you on my pursuit for knowledge about the convention center. Here is the Cliff Notes version: 1. Call Mayor's office 2. Mayor's office referred me to MDHA and in particular their web site 3. MDHA referred me to McNeely, Pigott and Fox 4. David Fox called and asked what I was looking for 5. I wanted to know where I could find the updates of the projections (Original Projections were done 3 years ago I think.). I also wanted to find a copies of the updated projections and see if they had updated them using the projections offered by professor from UT Arlington. 6. David said he didn't think forecasts were updated. 7. Saw David today at Rotary and he said they were in the process of updating their numbers. I said great and he asked if that is all I wanted. I said yes but the most important part of looking at any financial forecast is a detailed look at the assumptions that go into the forecast. I truly hope the council will require new numbers based on a "new paradigm" from MDHA and or the NCVB. I don't know about you but my world has changed a great deal over the three year period. Please keep me posted on any discussions you might feel will help me understand this decision and your thinking on it.
You've got to be kidding me. I can understand the Mayor's office passing the buck. But MDHA? They have a public information officer on staff. Doesn't this, a legitimate question from a city resident, fall under their domain? And forget about vilifying the evil PR folks (for today at least). When David Fox returned Mr. Curious's call he was just doing his job. He even asked if he could do anything else. Talk about service with a smile. We should give him a raise! (Note to Metro: Please do not actually give David Fox a raise, you pay him enough already.)


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