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CONVENTION CENTER BELONGS IN THE CITY'S CORE

When our leaders decide where to build a new convention center, they should not forget the city's development plan designed to improve downtown.

This process breaks the downtown core into many sections -- such as the governmental core, the business core, the entertainment core and the family entertainment core, planned for the foot of Main Street.

Specific projects are proposed to improve each area economically. For example, a new courthouse is planned for the governmental section. A children's museum and new zoo are among the possibilities for developing a family entertainment section.

A recent study suggested two sites for the convention center. One is the Mohawk Parking Ramp in the core of downtown, and the other is near Marine Midland Atrium. Only one of these sites makes economic sense. Conventions, which are all about business, bring a tremendous economic impact. All of this business belongs smack in the middle of the business district, on the Mohawk site.

Convention attendees prefer a short walk to hotels, restaurants and entertainment, which is now available with the emergence of the Chippewa Street/Theater District. A new center located near all of this would provide a critical mass of people to support these establishments.

Shea's, Studio Arena, Irish Classical Theatre, the Calumet, TGI Fridays, Breckenridge Brewery, Spot Coffee and others would be within a short distance.

Building a new convention center near the atrium is not going to draw people to the waterfront. There are many other family-oriented projects that would be more suitable, such as a children's museum, a zoo or a skating complex.

If a convention center were built here, a new hotel would have to be constructed. Such a project would leave current hotels out in the dark. The choices for dining at the foot of Main Street would be limited. New eateries would pop up at the expense of existing ones near Chippewa.

Everyone would like to see the waterfront developed, but not at the expense of another part of downtown that has proven to be successful. We need to stick with the current development plan and build the convention center on the Mohawk site.

SCOTT E. KRAJESKI Buffalo