The Next Big Project: Looking into building a new Monroe arena - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

The Next Big Project: Looking into building a new Monroe arena

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The mayor of Monroe's "next big project" is a brand new civic center arena. But what does it take to turn a multi-million dollar idea into a reality?

The idea of a new arena has sparked many questions about replacing the aging civic center and one group, M3A architecture has been hired to boil it all down to a proposal called a feasibility study.

"A feasibility study is a comprehensive analysis," said founder of M3A William McElroy. To complete the report, McElroy says it will take 90 days of aggressive research to weigh all options, concerning location, price, design, and if its even a profitable business idea for Monroe. M3a project designer Rafael Ferreira says the study acts as a blue-print of the final project."This is just the starting point, the feasibility study, and what's really wise from the city aspect is that they are doing the right steps," said Ferreira.

7 teams of up to 75 people total from all over the country will collaborate with this architecture firm. McElroy says many working with the group have had a hand in designing and building arenas all across the country. "I think they bring a lot of merit to our endeavor," said McElroy.

The price tag for this work is $95,000.00 dollars. A dollar amount that at least one city councilman has decried as too expensive, but McElroy disagrees. "It depends on your point of reference, but if I were to give you a point of reference it is a very fair fee." In fact, McElroy says typically his firm charges twice as much for similar studies.

But as a native Monroe-ian, he felt compelled to cut the city a deal. "We aren't doing this to endure the city to us, but we have if I may say, a personal stake in this." McElroy's whole family lives in the city and he was born and raised on the south-side in the 60's. He says it was at Jefferson Junior High where he was first inspired to become an architect. "Everything that I know, everything that I am is born out of the experiences that I hold so dear, they are Monroe-ian and northeast Louisiana experiences."

The firm says if everything goes according to plan, the entire process to build the multi-million dollar landmark project could take between three to four years. As for what the arena will look like, where it will be located or any other details...you'll have to wait for the firm to release its study to find out.

Hear more about the arena building process, all month on Mondays, we will look into the different issues and questions that come with this next big project.

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