Monroe arena study gets mixed support from city council - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Monroe arena study gets mixed support from city council

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - On Tuesday, plans were revealed for a new civic center arena in Monroe. But the mayor has mixed support on the city council.

Monroe mayor Jamie Mayo announced his next signature project: A brand new civic center arena. Council member Gretchen Ezernack says a new arena has been on the city's wish list for some time. "It would definitely be something that north east Louisiana could share in the success of," said Ezernack.

To get the project going, the outgoing city council approved a 95-thousand dollar feasibility study last November. The report will be written by M3A Architecture, a Jackson based consulting firm. Once the study is complete, it will recommend the arena's size, location, and cost. "I was very much in support of the feasibility study because I think it behooves us to look at that."

But not everyone is on board. Councilman Ray Armstrong says almost 100-grand for a study is too pricey and the former council should have shopped around more. "Well I was not on the council when the feasibility study was commissioned, but 95-thousand dollars is a lot of money for a feasibility study. I would have liked to see the qualifications .. And the other people who competed for that study," said Armstrong.

Ezernack stands behind her vote, saying it's a good investment for the future.

"Just because we're exploring it doesn't mean its going to happen, but I certainly think its positive that we're exploring those opportunities." The study could take anywhere from three to six months to complete.

Council member Eddie Clark voted for the feasibility study. New council members Kenneth Wilson and Betty Blakes did not return our calls in time to comment.

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