Arena Plan Is Criticized

Oops! I refer to the article “Sunday Sit-Down: Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority Executive Director Dennis Magruder.”

Obviously, Magruder and Wheeling’s mayor, “Let’s hike the sales tax and put a new roof on the collapsing WesBanco Arena” McKenzie, did not compare their talking points prior to discussions with the media. We can’t blame Magruder because he, like everyone else in Wheeling, has no idea what might come out of the mayor’s mouth to further his agenda and blow the taxpayers’ hard earned dollars.

The article, however, reveals the well-recognized ongoing problem with the current administration; that being the apparent addiction of jumping into projects with only goals identified and no plan as to how those goals might be accomplished. In this interview alone, Magruder said, “I think,” 28 times, which indicates to me that neither he nor the mayor have the slightest idea of what they are talking about.

When the mayor, just after a drum roll, I imagine, made his life-saving announcement for Wheeling and the arena concerning the need to raise the sales tax and lower the B&O tax, the justification was that the arena needed a new roof. Well, shame on Magruder for reminding citizens that only nine years ago a $2.3 million bond issue was floated to put a new roof on the arena, and now it leaks. Roofs generally have a 15-20 year guarantee, so get the roofing contractor back and fix the leaks.

The questions the reporter failed to ask is what is the historical profit and loss status of the Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority, what are the future P&L projections, and on what are those projections based? Also, why haven’t all of these “I think” discrepancies been dealt with as they outlived their usefulness?

Magruder mentioned that the GWSEA didn’t want to compete with the private sector. Mr. Magruder there is no private sector with which to compete! Even the concessions at both venues are run by your organization, when in fact good business sense would dictate they be leased to private contractors. And what, you want full time employees so the taxpayers can start picking up the benefits for them?

And yet we wonder why Wheeling resembles Dresden.

William Hefner

Palm City, Fla.