"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Nick Simonette.
The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority is waking up, and we say it's about time.
Several years ago, the CRVA helped convince our local leaders to park millions of dollars of taxpayer funds in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Then, it took over operations.
The city-owned racing museum opened in May 2010, and the CRVA projected a profit of $800,000.
Well, that didn't happen.
Instead, the venue lost a whopping $1.4 million.
During its second fiscal year, attendance dropped even more.
Last month, new CRVA CEO Tom Murray made a rather overdue announcement:
the CRVA's top priority will now be getting people inside the Hall of Fame.
Recent history has proven, though, that the museum is not a steady draw on its own.
So we've got some advice for Mr. Murray.
Call Jeff Wise.
Wise is Executive Director of the Whitewater Center, another taxpayer-dependant niche venture that struggled with finances.
But Wise did something about it.
He worked wonders, adding an array of activities that won't get you wet – zip-lining, runs, even a wilderness survival class.
He started hosting weddings, parties and festivals…screening movies and hiring bands.
The Whitewater Center has become an incredibly creative place.
And that is exactly what the Hall of Fame must do if it's ever going to get out of the red and stop bleeding taxpayers' money.
Tell us what YOU think. SpeakOut@wbtv.com.