Skubick: What's in the proposed $88M reno for the capitol

Just when you think you've got this game figured out, some new data comes along to prove you don't.

The commission that runs the state capitol building proposed a spanking-new visitor welcome center for the 150,000 schools kids who get out of class for a day to inhale the beauty and history of the 135-year-old facility. That doesn't include the 200,000 or so protestors that also show up from time to time.

Right now, everyone just walks through a door and are greeted by a tour guide. No hats. No horns. No nothing. The proposed new entrance would be more hi-tech with a little more pop, including more security, "education meetings rooms" and a cafeteria.

Of course, pop is not cheap. The initial price tag runs about $88 million.

Tucked inside the proposal are plans to eliminate the current parking lot in back of the capitol where lawmakers, staffers and other privileged folks get to park. For the sake of transparency, years ago the capitol press corps had parking spots there, too, until then Gov. Jim Blanchard swiped them.

So with no parking lot, where would officials go?



An underground parking garage is contemplated which, if you know anything about Michigan winters, is a perk that percolates with the would-be benefactors.

But then last February, all this was placed on hold.

Now you would think the citizens would go nuts over this, but here's the data to show that's not true.

The guess was, upwards of 70 percent would put the cabash on the underground facility but turns out the number is only 39 percent . This from the Denno Research firm that polled 600 citizens and also discovered that almost one in four actually supported the proposal. (Maybe they know somebody who can get them a parking spot?)

You would also think that penny pinching Republicans would go bonkers over this thing, but turns out 37 percent of the Rs and 39 percent of the D's want lawmakers to park in the snow. Or, put another way, a majority of both parties want to see them warm and cozy underground.

Just when you think you've got this game figured out, the citizens prove you wrong.
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