Discovery Science Center wants Santa Ana to guarantee their loans

“The Discovery Science Center is planning a $60 million expansion that would include a working crime lab and a gigantic, globe-shaped exhibit hall to complement its signature cube.  The science center will announce a major-league sports exhibit later this month, and plans to add a rocket exhibit inside its 10-story black cube by 2010. But the real expansion would transform the science center into a campus of special exhibits, classrooms and attractions,” according to the O.C. Register.

The Discovery Science Center management want to buy the Red Roof Inn property next door to their Center in order to accommodate this expansion.  They also want the City of Santa Ana to guarantee their bonds – to the tune of $37 million.  They think they can raise the rest of the $60 million price tag themselves.

While I welcome the expansion plans and won’t miss the Red Roof Inn, I am very leery about backing these bonds.  The national economy is in tatters and I don’t know when Wall Street is going to recover from its self-inflicted wounds.  Lenders are NOT backing any such projects right now, why should the people of Santa Ana do so – particularly when our city is $28 million in debt?

Right now you get in free to the Discovery Science Center the first Monday of each month, if you live in Santa Ana.  If I recall correctly, the City practically gave the land to the Center.  Shouldn’t our residents get more than one free day a month for such a generous contribution?

Any talk about guaranteeing bonds MUST include more quid pro quo for the people of our city.  But quite frankly I am not supportive of putting our city on the line for a project that may or may not fly.  My preference would be for the private market to back this project.  If the private market is unwilling to do so, why should we?

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.