Alerus Gang Upset That Private Entity is Stealing Wedding Business That the Alerus Stole From Private Business
Asked if, with concerts, conferences and weddings, Ralph Engelstad Arena wasn’t actually competing with the city-owned Alerus Center as some critics say, Semrau said there is some of that, but far less than most think. Many concerts promoters, he said, pick venues based on available dates and the size of the venue, so if they don’t pick The Ralph, it doesn’t mean they would pick the Alerus Center.
The Grand Forks Herald yesterday had a story yesterday about how the privately funded venue in town is growing in attendance. The Herald’s writer and Alerus apologist chose to spin their success as somehow stealing from the Alerus Center.
Complaining about the Ralph Englestad Arena (REA) holding weddings is beyond ironic. Back when the Alerus Gang was conning the public into letting them build the Alerus they were only talking about bringing people into town with conferences and with concerts. In fact they were supposed to work with the hotels to do the catering.
But once they got the place built they went to steal the hotels business. It got even worse when the Alerus Gang heavily subsidized a hotel to build next to the center. It’s darned tough to compete against your own tax dollars.
Now that another entity is having some success, without any tax money at all, the Alerus Gang is crying in their milk.
If I had an event I’d go to the world class REA rather than to the Alerus with their crummy management.
Of course they aren’t only complaining about Weddings. Apparently the REA isn’t supposed to hold concerts. This complaint is really silly when you consider the fact that the REA can make money on a concert when the Alerus loses money on everything they have.
When the Alerus has a concert the Alerus gang brags about all the people that the concert brought in. When the REA brings in a lot of people, somehow that’s unfair competition.
You’d think the entire concert thing would be moot since the Alerus hasn’t had a single concert this year. Of course when they were asking for our vote they told us they were the experts and they’d be able to bring in several concerts a year and make money at it.
Now they say that the concert industry has change and everyone loses money. Everyone that is except for the venue 1 mile North and the one 80 miles south.
The main point of the article was about how the REA attendance is increasing. Compare that with the Alerus. According to official city documents the Alerus center has been down in attendance through September each of the last 3 years. In 2007 the Alerus had 191,216 visitors January through September. In 2010 the Alerus had dropped to 140,374. In other words three years ago 36% more people visited the place.
Blame for the drop in attendance and lack of concerts clearly goes to the management of the failed event center. This summer the Alerus Commission and the City Council took away any performance expectations in their contract with Venuworks. As it is now Venuworks doesn’t have to do anything to earn their money.
What’s really bad about that is that there was only one city councilman that questioned what we were getting for our money that we pay Venuworks. Heck they’d just be caught submitting expenses unrelated to the Grand Forks operation and the city council still rewarded them.
The Alerus was a flawed concept but we can cut our losses by dumping the management company and dump the Alerus Commission. The people that screwed this up so badly aren’t going to make it better.Tags: Alerus Center, North Dakota News