Ten years ago, Richmond-area officials campaigned to become the home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. We gave it a good shot but there was no competing with the deal that Charlotte, N.C., put together. Ten years later, it looks like we dodged a bullet. Writes Style Weekly:

Organizers of the Hall of Fame said it would draw between 400,000 and 700,000 visitors annually. But only about 170,000 visitors are making the stop. The project lost more than $1 million a year, and last night, Charlotte City Council voted to write off more than $22 million in debt that city and local banks took on to finance the project.

It’s not clear how much money the Richmond region was willing to expend in order to attract the $100 million project, but the state and Henrico County would have had to pony up a big chunk. Then-Governor Mark Warner predicted a “substantial investment from the state,” reported the Daily Press. The Henrico County Economic Development Authority undoubtedly would have been called upon to support the debt.

Bacon’s bottom line: Richmonders often speak with envy about the ability of Charlotte’s business, government and civic leadership to “get things done.” In this case, Charlotte leaders are probably wishing they hadn’t been so adept. Let this be a reminder: State and local government should focus on excelling at their core missions. Promoting tourism is not a core mission. That’s a job of the local business community.


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10 responses to “Dodging a Bullet”

  1. well in this case it was easy to see… Rednecks don’t go to museums… they want to see sex, speed, blood, guts wrecks and driver fistfights.

    This would be like some loon proposing a Hall of Fame for Cage Fighters.


  2. Cville Resident Avatar
    Cville Resident

    Good post.

    For all of Warner’s perceived “success” as Governor…I think he did preside over one of the dumber ideas at the time…..remember his “motorsports” initiative? The HOF was part of it as was throwing money around to community colleges and tracks in Southside.

    I’d be interested to see if any of this had success. NASCAR has been on a steep decline in terms of attendance, TV, and sponsor money for a good 7 years now.

  3. How is the Redskins training camp bonanza going?

    1. It is not meeting expectations, as I recall. Not a fiasco, but less than promised.

  4. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    “WE gave it a good shot?” Jim, that sounds like such flackery. You sound like the editorial page of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

    And as for the Redskins training camp, the city neglected its schools by spending big bucks on perhaps the richest team in the NFL to come to town three weeks a year.
    “Not a fiasco?”

    1. Yeah, it was kind of hard to imagine how any deal with Dan Snyder was going to turn out well. There are rumors that Snyder wants to take the team to LA where he can address a bigger market and indulge his entertainment industry hallucinations. That would open the door for a move by the Jacksonville Jaguars to DC. I think it’s all wishful thinking but we can dream, can’t we?

      1. shades of taking the Wash Senators to Texas!

        1. They went to Minneapolis in 1961, an expansion team formed in DC but by 1971 they were gone to Texas. The move to Minneapolis was enough to push my family to become Baltimore Orioles fans. My kids have defected back to the Washington Nationals (and I wish the Nationals good luck) but remain an Os fan.

          How ‘Bout Dem Os, Hon!

      2. so if we want to get rid of Snyder – the cost is the skins?


        1. I am with you on that one.

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