Thursday, April 26, 2012

Coconut VooDoo?

4/26/2012

Earlier today, I read a Facebook post from a friend of mine. She “Shared” a message from Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni regarding how Kenner was “moving forward” since the city had attracted the Coconut Beach volleyball group and the New Orleans VooDoo’s indoor practice facility to Kenner.
I had to read this information because, Mayor Yenni and I aren’t friends – Facebook or otherwise.

While it may seem to some (including Hizzoner) that I always disagree with Mayor Yenni (see: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/08/legislative_auditor_will_inves.html), I need to give him a modicum of credit here: Coconut Beach was extremely successful in New Orleans and can hopefully continue their success in Laketown.
If Coconut Beach can migrate their existing player base to Kenner and, in the process, offer another recreational outlet for Kenner residents and jumpstart Laketown, it will truly be a coup for Kenner. The indirect economic impact to Kenner from players purchasing gas, meals, snacks and more, while not quantified, could be considerable.

Migrating their player base is a big “IF” however and the jury is still out on whether there is support for the venture among Kenner residents.

The other issue that I have with Coconut Beach is the relatively meager direct economic impact that they’ll have on Kenner.
It’s been reported that Kenner will receive $20 per volleyball team competing at Coconut Beach. This equates to roughly $40,000 - $50,000 annually. For the city to receive such a tiny amount for the prime real estate that is Laketown is a concern.

Hopefully, Mayor Yenni and his crack administrative team have produced data on the economic impact of Coconut Beach that they just haven’t shared with the lowly people that they represent (the residents of Kenner).

So, for the moment, we’ll give Mayor Yenni the benefit of the doubt and hope that Coconut Beach will be more than some boxes of sand at Laketown and actually benefit the city both economically and our quality of life.

The practice facility for the VooDoo is an entirely different story.

While I enjoy indoor football, I can’t conceive of actually going to a VooDoo practice. Maybe people really do that (maybe really bored people).

While it may be nice to say that Kenner is the “Home of VooDoo’s Indoor Practice Facility”, try as I might I can’t find any tangible benefit to the city.
Will people travel to Laketown from New Orleans, the West Bank, Biloxi or even from the Treasure Chest to watch the VooDoo practice? I think not. Is there any economic benefit to the city? Other than VooDoo players and staff gassing up their vehicles, I don’t think so.

So, what do we get with the VooDoo practice facility? Not a whole lot. But, according to Mayor Yenni, Kenner is “moving forward”.
Moving forward?

Well, maybe baby steps.

Walt Bennetti

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