Irving's Leaders Are Pretending the Cowboys' Move to Frisco Doesn't Matter
Irving's leaders take exception to Jim Schutze's allegory of Valley Ranch -- and, by extension, the city as a whole -- as the washed-up hag in the corner of a seedy bar, her sobs wreathed in cigarette smoke. They haven't addressed it directly, but the narrative they're spinning is starkly different.
City of Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne
This week, in the wake of Jerry Jones' announcement that the Cowboys are spurning Valley Ranch and hooking up with Frisco for the team's headquarters and training facility, Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne gave a series of interviews insisting that, really, it's not that big a deal.
"The economic impact is minimal," she told CBS 11. "We were proud to have the Cowboys here. It was bragging rights; it's a very recognizable national brand."
She and Chamber of Commerce President Chris Wallace go on to describe what is described in the piece as a "residential and population explosion" and an "economic resurgence."
Van Duyne struck a similar tone in an interview with the Dallas Business Journal, pointing out that "One business doesn't define a city."
There's nothing wrong with a little hometown boosterism, of course, but Van Duyne's optimism verges on delusion. At the very least, it's a clumsy attempt to gloss over recent history.
The Dallas Morning News' Avi Selk has a piece this morning detailing just how hard Irving tried to keep the Cowboys. Talks with the club, which included tentative plans for an elaborate mixed-use retail-residential development to be anchored by the team, had been going on for a year when the Frisco rumors "blindsided" the city.
City leaders weren't all that concerned with the team's direct impact on the local economy, which amounts to a few dozen jobs and several thousand dollars in tax revenue. What they wanted was, as Selk puts it, "to reap millions from the Cowboys tourist attraction that will replace the team's 28-year-old facility in the Valley Ranch neighborhood."
If that wasn't important, if it was just about bragging rights, Irving wouldn't have put so much energy into negotiations, and Van Duyne wouldn't have gone off on city staff and council members for dropping the ball.