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OUR OPINION: Alerus Center's big event

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opinion Grand Forks, 58203

Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

Let's talk a little walk down Memory Lane.

Here are a few excerpts from news stories about the Alerus Center in Grand Forks and its budget over the years. Read, and remember.

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From 2001: "The Alerus Center is expected to lose money this year, and it will likely lose next year, too, according to center officials."

From 2003: "Grand Forks' Alerus Center expects to operate in the red again this year, according to a marketing plan released Wednesday. Budget projections for 2003 show expenses outpacing revenues by $223,911, an amount that would be bridged by city funds."

From 2005: "Grand Forks' Alerus Center reported Wednesday a loss of $195,000 in 2004, another year in the red for the city-owned and subsidized facility."

From 2007: "Grand Forks' Alerus Center lost money again last year for the fourth year in a row, according to the commission overseeing the city-owned facility.The expectation is that the loss will be smaller than in 2005, which was the second-worst year in the center's brief history."

From 2009: "Criticism of Grand Forks' Alerus Center has reached such a level that members of a City Council task force say they want to settle once and for all some of the toughest questions about the city-owned building."

Now, contrast those stories with this one, which appeared in the Herald last week -- and reported a development that many Grand Forks residents may never have thought possible:

"Projected 2014 profits for the Alerus Center in Grand Forks are well over what the staff expected, and they're higher than the expected profit at the nearest large event center in Fargo."

Just seeing the word "profits" associated with the name "Alerus Center" makes people in Grand Forks feel warm all over. Hearty congratulations to the center's current team, who've done a fine job with a small-city facility in a field -- event-center management -- that's challenging even in the New Yorks and Bostons of the world.

Even when the Alerus Center lost money, it still was a net plus for Grand Forks. The facility has made and still makes a big difference in the city's economy and quality of life.

But "I've been rich and I've been poor," as Sophie Tucker put it. "And I can tell you, rich is better." Grand Forks has seen stories about Alerus Center losses and Alerus Center profits, and the ones about profits are a lot more fun to read. Congratulations again.

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