County arena survey receives 150 responsesWritten by Danielle Portteus | | firstname.lastname@example.org
An e-mail survey sent to 1,500 businesses in Lucas County regarding the construction of a new sports arena received 150 responses before the deadline, said Gateway Consulting President Tom Chema.
“We were expecting about 10 percent of people to respond,” he said. “About 150 people responding is a good number.”
A letter from the Lucas County Commissioners office was sent in early April to businesses registered to the Toledo Chamber of Commerce stating an e-mail survey would be sent a few weeks later.
“Anyone who had an e-mail registered with the Chamber received the e-mails,” BJ Fisher, senior account executive for Funk-Leutke-Skunda, said. “We sent out 1,500 and the only changes to the list were to remove duplicates.”
Chema said his firm continues collecting data results, but preliminary data was presented to him May 16. Responses are used to assist in the feasibility analysis Gateway Consulting will present to commissioners in June.
The survey asked businesses if they currently purchase season tickets for any collegiate or professional sports and for what teams.
In addition, the survey asked if businesses would be interested in leasing a suite and how much money they are willing to spend for a suite. The prices ranged from $40,000 to $25,000 annually.
Another question asked respondents if they would be interested in purchasing season tickets for a minor league hockey team if the team played 45 home games and the average price was $675 for the season.
It also asked if the businesses’ interest would increase or decrease if the minor league team was affiliated with the Detroit Red Wings or Columbus Blue Jackets.
Another question asked if businesses would be interested in an arena football team, season tickets for that team if they played eight home games with prices averaging $160 for the season.
In a random telephone survey conducted by Toledo Free Press, 19 out of 20 businesses surveyed said they did not respond to the e-mail.
Carter Belrose, insurance agent with American Family Insurance, 3171 N. Republic, said he did not respond.
“I deleted it once I saw it because I am not involved that much with the Chamber anymore,” he said. “I get 80 to 90 e-mails a day; if I was more involved, I would have probably deleted it anyway.”
Dan Wainscott, president of Diamond Electric, 4723 Cedarhurst, said he did not respond because he was unsure of his feelings regarding a new arena.
“I am not sure how I feel about it yet,” he said. “The city shouldn’t be spending money frivolously and that would be frivolous.”
Stephanie Koehler, executive director of Mom’s House, 2505 Franklin Ave., said her lack of time caused her not to respond, but said the project was still important to the area.
“Economic developments in the city are critical because developments lead to money for the area and non-profit organizations,” she said. “As a non-profit it has so little effect on what we do that the survey was not high on my priority list.”
Dan Hathaway, general manager of Heatherdowns Country Club, 3910 Heatherdowns Blvd., said he did not respond to the survey, but does support the arena project.
“I very strongly in favor of a sports arena downtown,” he said. “The synergy with all the venues together like 5/3 Field makes economic sense.”
Hathaway said a new sports arena is an opportunity to rebuild Downtown.
“It’s the right place,” he said. “Attracting a hockey franchise and having hotels in proximity is a really good idea.”