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Follow the Money 

by Dan Richardson

One might think that $96 million is a bit much for an expanded convention center in Spokane. One would be correct.

In fact, only about $76 million would go toward the project being proposed, and the Public Facilities District would only spend about 58 percent of that money for actual construction costs. Remember: The plan up for a May 21 vote is a regional facilities plan. Call it regional thinking, call it a peace offering to win county votes -- whatever, the county will receive a huge chunk of money to spend on its renovations of the fairgrounds and Mirabeau Point.

The PFD says the figures for the convention center expansion come from the project architects, a partnership of Spokane's Integrus and LMN, an experienced convention-building firm. (LMN designed the recent expansion at the Washington State Convention & amp; Trade Center in Seattle.)

Here's the breakdown of how the proposed $96 million would be spent:

- $45 million in convention center construction;

- $16 million for related expansion expenses, including: $3.65 million in state sales tax; $3.60 million in professional fees; and $2.25 million for furniture and equipment;

- $8 million to purchase land;

- $7 million for a reserve to fund convention center operations;

- $19 million for county projects: $12 million for the fairgrounds; and $7 million for Mirabeau Point;

- $1 million for bonding expenses.
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