Since Mark only thinks people should care if the problems are local to them, I heard about some information about our little local money pit. http://www.lvrj.com/news/48018807.html
The Springs Preserve posted small gains in attendance and revenue during its second year of operation, but it still required almost $9.3 million in operational help from the Las Vegas Valley Water District. By the time the fiscal year is closed out at month's end, more than 206,000 people will have visited the preserve and spent nearly $1.8 million there. That's about 9,000 more visitors and $204,000 more income than the attraction saw in year one. All told, however, the 180-acre collection of interactive exhibits, green buildings and desert plants has absorbed nearly $20 million in subsidies since the water district opened it on June 8, 2007. And that's not counting the roughly $160 million the state's largest water utility kicked in for construction of the $235 million attraction. The district will spend the next 25 to 30 years paying that bond money back with interest.
I've been out to this place (I paid) and it's neat but is it worth $235 million? NO. It's also the kind of thing that once you've been there, there isn't much need to go back.
Of the 206,142 visitors to the preserve over the past year, about 95,000 were paying customers. Before the preserve opened, midrange projections called for it to draw approximately 600,000 visitors in the first 12 months, most of them tourists. With two years now in the books, the attraction is still well short of that first year figure, and tourist traffic remains almost nonexistent. The facility attracted roughly 8,500 out-of-town visitors during its second year, a decline even from the 9,300 tourists it saw in year one. That's a far cry from the district's stated goal of capturing about 1 percent of the local tourism market. After all, 1 percent of 37.5 million people -- the number drawn to Las Vegas in 2008 -- is 375,000.