In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Cobo-Red Wing Combo?
This should get everyone's attention. For years there's been chatter about expanding Cobo Hall and for years there's been an equal amount of speculation concerning a new home for the Stanley Cup champs. Now comes a proposal to link the two. "Maybe it's time for us to build a new Joe Lewis right there down at the Cobo Center where we could also expand Cobo Hall at the same time." That from Detroit democrat Rep. George Cushingberry whose eyes light up at the prospect of a joint project with the state, city and the Ilitch family. The family remains on radio silence but it is aware of the overtures from the politicians including Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano according to one source. The Red Wings lease on the current Joe Lewis arena will expire soon and if the family entered into a combo deal, and please note nobody is saying that will happen, the Ilitch's would need an extension on the current lease. Cushingberry remains upbeat about the project noting that, "Wouldn't it be wonderful…like some creative thing to get us out of the box that we are in. It's my understanding, and you can verify this, that Mr. Ilitch and his family are very interested in seeing what we might do." The project might include some state dollars according to Cush and a lease back arrangement that could generate new dollars for state coffers. House Speaker Andy Dillon who is working with the governor and the senate GOP leader Mike Bishop to find a way to expand Cobo Hall says he has heard about the combination approach from Cushingberry and the Speaker is interested in the concept. He, the governor and Bishop however have not discussed the possibility. Described by one source as a "very sensitive" issue, it will be interesting to see where it goes from here…if anywhere.