Disclaimer: AT’s post was a tangent to this one, where he notes that he does not have a pony in this race.Â However, it seemed like a good springboard.
Much has been written about the proposed new hotel on Illinois Avenue, bordering the Woodland neighborhood. Some Woodland residents have been vocal in their opposition, but the concept is not without support, either.
I fail to see why itâ€™d benefit anybody but Patel and business interests to put the thing there. Youâ€™d think thereâ€™d be some kinda incentive that could be offered to the Woodland denizens.
I heard Shailesh Patel speak to a small group on this subject a couple of weeks ago, and he’s actually devoting considerable effort to canvassing the neighborhood, trying to determine what he could do to make the project not just more palatable, but more appealing to the neighbors. It was my impression that he is quite sincere in going beyond what is needed for City approval, and actually is concerned about addressing the neighborhood concerns.
Does Oak Ridge need another hotel? My first thought is, he’s the businessman, and it’s his money at risk. He’s been around here for quite a long time, and he’s too sharp to make a foolish gamble. He’s done his market research, and I don’t think he’d take that kind of chance unless the data backed up his decision.
I doubt that all of our hotels are full all of the time, but there are certainly occasions when they are, notably during rowing events. Our local industries are also ramping up several projects that bring people in on business. Folks that stay in our hotels contribute to sales tax collections not just through their room tax, but also from eating out at every meal. Yet, it doesn’t seem like they would cost us much in the way of City services such as fire, police, utilities infrastructure and schools.
I would be much more suspicious of some out-of-towner like Arnsdorff planning this venture, but Patel lives here, works here, and has kids in school here. It’s worth carefully weighing the consideration he’s put into both the hotel and the neighborhood impact before lining up against him.
Truthfully, would this smallish hotel have more negative impact than the large apartment complex across the street?
Although the location and traffic patterns wouldn’t be nearly as favorable in the empty field across from my neighborhood, I would not object to it going there. Especially if it also attracted a little grocery store and other needed commercial business to the west end.
The new Food City is only about a mile further from my house, but the five traffic lights in between double the travel time. Business can make good neighbors, and good neighborhoods.