The Next Big Project: Monroe mayor details his vision - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

The Next Big Project: Monroe mayor details his vision for a new arena

Posted: Updated:

MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The mayor of Monroe's "Next Big Project", is a brand new civic center arena.

The Monroe Civic Center Arena is a city landmark for over a half century and it has had thousands of acts pass through their doors.  But how to keep the aging facility current is a question several nearby cities have recently faced, including Alexandria, Little Rock, and Shrevport-Bossier area and now Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo says the city also needs to figure out how to keep up. "This arena was a visionary during its hey day, but now we're in the 21st century and we're feeling like its outdated," said Mayo.

Keeping up with this aging facility isn't cheap, the city has spent over one million dollars over the past five years for the repair of this building and on top of that, it costs 3.2 million dollars per year just for its upkeep. "We're doing everything we can with a building that is 45 years old," said interim civic center director Charles Thomas who says, with the civic center only generating 1.7 million dollars a year, it's actually losing money for the city. That's why city leaders say something needs to be done quickly. "In order to be successful, you must improve and to stay dormant, you can't get anywhere, you can't compete, you lose customers and that's what we are doing now," said Thomas.

To kick start the process, the city council hired the Jackson based architecture firm M3A to conduct a 90 day and $95,000.00 feasibility study.  They will offer a plan that will include location, cost, and size options. But Mayo says the recommendations will be just that, recommendations. "Nothing is set in stone 100% because there may have to be tweaking and that type of thing," and months before seeing the study's conclusions the mayor admits what he ultimately wants. "Our preference quite frankly is to have a brand new facility," said Mayo.

When it comes to paying for it, the city doesn't have extra money saved up like Bossier City did to finance the Century Link Center. But the mayor isn't worried. He equates the experience to building the Monroe Regional Airport, where unexpected stimulus money became available. "I'm optimistic, as we did with the airport there will be other funding opportunities that we can pursue," he said. Regardless of what financing options are laid out, Mayo says tax payers will likely help foot at least part of the bill. "I'm sure we'll have to go to them to ask them to be a part of making this a reality," said the mayor.

But if a brand new arena is built. Will it be used? Of the 350 events held at the Civic Center, only three sold-out within the past year.  But Mayo is confident if a new larger venue is built, it will not only attract people but also the larger acts. "If you build it, they will come," said Mayo.

If tax payers are expected pay for the arena, ultimately voters will decide if the mayor's "Next Big Project" will become more than just a vision.  

The feasibility study is expected to be released by this summer.

 

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Black bear plays hide-and-seek in Winnsboro

    Black bear plays hide-and-seek in Winnsboro

    Sunday, August 31 2014 3:16 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:16:24 GMT
    WINNSBORO, La. (KNOE 8 News) - One KNOE viewer sent in some cute video of what looks to be a Louisiana Black Bear hanging out in a rice field.
    WINNSBORO, La. (KNOE 8 News) - One KNOE viewer sent in some cute video of what looks to be a Louisiana Black Bear hanging out in a rice field.
  • Second arrest made in April 2013 murder

    Second arrest made in April 2013 murder

    Saturday, August 30 2014 3:00 PM EDT2014-08-30 19:00:56 GMT
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A second arrest has been made in the April 2013 murder of Steve Brown.
    MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A second arrest has been made in the April 2013 murder of Steve Brown.
  • Louisiana police arrest man in Montana killing

    Louisiana police arrest man in Montana killing

    Sunday, August 31 2014 3:06 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:06:59 GMT
    SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - Shreveport police say a two-day manhunt has brought the arrest of a 27-year-old man accused in Montana of killing a homeless man.
    SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - Shreveport police say a two-day manhunt has brought the arrest of a 27-year-old man accused in Montana of killing a homeless man.
  • BR Police: officer shot man who tried to take gun

    BR Police: officer shot man who tried to take gun

    Sunday, August 31 2014 2:41 PM EDT2014-08-31 18:41:03 GMT
    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Baton Rouge police Cpl. Don Coppola Jr. says an officer shot and critically wounded a man who allegedly tried to grab the officer's gun while threatening his life.
    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Baton Rouge police Cpl. Don Coppola Jr. says an officer shot and critically wounded a man who allegedly tried to grab the officer's gun while threatening his life.
  • San Antonio man shoots two children during domestic dispute

    San Antonio man shoots two children during domestic dispute

    Sunday, August 31 2014 2:47 PM EDT2014-08-31 18:47:50 GMT
    SAN ANTONIO, Tx. (KENS) - A shooting in southeast San Antonio left two children riddled with gunshot wounds Saturday.
    SAN ANTONIO, Tx. (KENS) - A shooting in southeast San Antonio left two children riddled with gunshot wounds Saturday.
  • Badgers DE Zagzebski taken off on stretcher

    Badgers DE Zagzebski taken off on stretcher

    Wisconsin senior defensive end Konrad Zagzebski left in the first quarter of Saturday night's LSU-Wisconsin game with an apparent neck injury.
    Wisconsin senior defensive end Konrad Zagzebski left in the first quarter of Saturday night's LSU-Wisconsin game with an apparent neck injury.
  • Two women arrested on conspiracy, fraud and forgery

    Two women arrested on conspiracy, fraud and forgery

    Saturday, August 30 2014 7:21 PM EDT2014-08-30 23:21:06 GMT
    WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Two Monroe women have been arrested for multiple counts of conspiracy, fraud, and forgery. West Monroe Police say former Cash Time employee Kisha Scott allegedly set up several fake accounts in order to get hundreds of dollars from each one.' Police report Mary Mustin helped Scott steal the money.  
    WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Two Monroe women have been arrested for multiple counts of conspiracy, fraud, and forgery. West Monroe Police say former Cash Time employee Kisha Scott allegedly set up several fake accounts in order to get hundreds of dollars from each one.' Police report Mary Mustin helped Scott steal the money.  
  • Unrestrained driver killed In Lincoln Parish

    Unrestrained driver killed In Lincoln Parish

    Saturday, August 30 2014 3:10 PM EDT2014-08-30 19:10:54 GMT
    RUSTON, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A Marion man died this morning after a single vehicle accident in Lincoln Parish.Around 5:45 a.m. Saturday, Louisiana State Police Troop F responded to a crash on Louisiana Highway 33 north of Interstate 20.
    RUSTON, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A Marion man died this morning after a single vehicle accident in Lincoln Parish.Around 5:45 a.m. Saturday, Louisiana State Police Troop F responded to a crash on Louisiana Highway 33 north of Interstate 20.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KNOE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.