Two sides to RDA |

Two sides to RDA

It’s possible that on April 16, Douglas County commissioners will take up the question of whether to provide $34.25 million in redevelopment money to help fund a Stateline events center.

The Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority is betting their request for funding is next week, but we won’t know for sure until Friday when the county releases the agenda.

While those who oppose using redevelopment money for the events center have been vocal to the point where they’ve filed a petition to put redevelopment on the ballot, we haven’t really seen a lot of comments about it online.

We would have thought that having commentary online would be perfect for those opposing the redevelopment agency, and perhaps they’ll take advantage of it for next week’s meeting.

There are legitimate arguments on both sides of this issue. Citing the coronavirus outbreak, opponents say now’s not the time to build anything. While we haven’t heard the argument from proponents, we expect we’ll hear that the events center is more critical now than ever to restart the Stateline economic engine.

Everyone these days is trotting out Yogi Berra’s classic line, “Predictions are hard to make, especially about the future.” The real crux of the debate over the redevelopment area and the alleged fortune it will generate is not what’s happened, but what could happen. Opponents say the would-be beneficiaries haven’t put any of their own money into the project, but those tax dollars aren’t coming out of thin air. They’re the result of investments property owners have made. The five-acre site is being donated by one of those beneficiaries, which at the current cost of Stateline real estate is a significant contribution.

Opponents say the money being raised by the RDA could go instead to support deputies, firefighters, teachers and other public goods, and they’re not wrong.

Stateline is a bet that paid off with a great deal of revenue for Douglas County for more than 60 years. The question now is whether it’s better to make another wager or let it ride, and hope we don’t come up snake eyes.