Successful arena will quiet cynicsWritten by Bruce Rumpf | | email@example.com
Debuting a column on employment, careers and the job market allows me the opportunity to write about a subject near and dear to my heart: baseball.
Yes, with the arrival of spring comes baseball and our beloved Toledo Mud Hens. Let me take a moment and thank all of you — the sports fans and the taxpayers of Lucas County — for directly and indirectly creating jobs and careers throughout Northwest Ohio. Think of the jobs you create by buying a $9 ticket, a $4 hot dog or a $5 beverage.
Such purchases fund the careers of the full-time Mud Hens staff, the team’s part-time food and beverage vendors and the employees of companies that process in plants across America products sold at Fifth Third Field. Your dollars create and sustain the groundskeeper jobs at the stadium and those at the company that produces fertilizer for the field.
Even the careers of the electricians and computer technicians who maintain the stadium’s scoreboards and lighting are made possible by the community reinvesting its money in Northwest Ohio. We all are involved in job creation.
The bonus from sporting events comes from being with family, friends and business associates while at the same time being entertained and connected in conversation. Add to that experience your childhood memories of spending time with a departed loved one like a grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, sister or brother.
Could it get any better for a $9 ticket purchase?
By fall 2009, you will again be given an opportunity to be a job creator when the new Downtown multi-purpose arena opens. Besides the full-time, great-paying construction jobs, you will contribute to the new full-time jobs at the SeaGate Centre, the surrounding Downtown hotels, local security providers, food suppliers and even the athletes and entertainers that will display their talents in the new venue.
We should all applaud our county commissioners, Tina Skeldon Wozniak, Ben Konop, and especially Pete Gerken, who had the political courage to lead the charge that the new arena be attached to the existing convention center rather than putting 37 acres of parking asphalt on the beautiful East Side location where the Toledo Sports Arena formerly sat.
Some have indicated the new arena will have a negative effect and lack positive economic impact and suggested the project isn’t worth its price tag, which could reach $100 million or more. I doubt such people would acknowledge the jobs created by the project or the positive image it will create for the whole community.
Can we measure the success we all will enjoy with this new facility? Of course.
We will leave a trail of full-time permanent jobs behind; we will book more and larger conventions where visitors — new and old — will have a more positive image of Toledo. When these visitors spend new dollars in our region at local restaurants, retail shops, the zoo, the art museum and other entertainment venues, we will benefit. When we hold “American Idol” tryouts in our new arena and the next Katie Holmes is discovered or go to hockey and arena football games, we will benefit.
We can measure success not only in dollars, but also in terms of our own self-image, that we are a fantastic community full of smart, hard-working, caring and family-oriented individuals.
The next time you buy that $9 ticket think how much it would cost if the Mud Hens were privately owned. What would a hot dog cost?
Winning is not just contagious as some would suggest; it takes planning. We have planned.
With public/private partnership, it’s hard to imagine writing about our community and not having a need to make it political. What next? Apply our sporting success to the whole region? Why not?
We all have a responsibility in Northwest Ohio to create job opportunities. We are doing a good job, but we can and will do better. In the meantime, here’s a toast the taxpayers of Lucas County. Thank you; enjoy the moment.
Let’s play ball.
Bruce F. Rumpf is president of Job1USA, a Human Resource Firm headquartered in Toledo. Job1USA specializes in work-force solutions in staffing, security, nursing and executive recruiting. Rumpf may be reached by phone at (419) 255-5005 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.