We wrote about the proposed Water Park at the Mall of America back in June.
The Star Tribune reported in August that “The Triple Five Group, owners and operators of the Mall of America, “pledged a 49% stake in the megamall as collateral to win a construction loan for its massive American Dream entertainment and retail complex in the New Jersey Meadowlands”. We,provide more about the Star Tribune coverage in another article.
We believe that the reactions of candidates for Bloomington’s highest offices to the Water Park development are a worthy indicator of how they will handle major initiatives in the city, should they be elected. So we asked:
If elected, what would you do regarding the involvement of the city of Bloomington in the financing of the Mall of America Water Park?
Ryan Kulka (recommended candidate for Mayor). That the MOA was able to be leveraged without our knowledge was a huge oversight by the city when formulating the initial agreement with Triple Five. If elected, I will motion that all forward effort on the water park project come to a halt in light of this information, until the financial arrangement can be normalized. No financially savvy entity would enter into a financing deal of this nature, as it is currently structured.
Al Noard (recommended candidate for City Council in District 1): It would be nice to have a Waterpark at the Mall of America. I believe it would help to increase the Mall's attraction as a destination spot. My issue is with municipalities getting involved when it would be a direct competitor of a nearby, privately-run waterpark. Also, if private investors are not willing to put up the money, that could be a fairly good indication as to the profit margins.
Susan Woodruff (recommended candidate for City Council in District 2). It is a flat no from me. First of all, Triple 5 wants to use MOA as collateral to build their American Dream entertainment center in New Jersey, and then ask others to bear the financial burden of a one-quarter of a billion dollar water park. All in the face of a deteriorating retail market. If it should fail, where will that burden really fall? We already have a water park next to the mall. I would prioritize spending on our critical infrastructure: our schools, fire houses, and other public buildings.
CLICK HERE to read our excerpts of the opinions of Star Tribune columnists in August 2019 on the Water Park