Financial outlook of building new arena in Monroe. - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Financial outlook of building new arena in Monroe.

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - With a multimillion dollar project on Monroe's horizon, some city leaders are asking if a new arena is an affordable option.

One economics professor at ULM asks not if the city could come up with the $84 million for construction, but could it maintain the everyday costs of operations.

"From the point of view of Monroe's investment in itself, or indulging itself, it's ambitious," says Robert Eisenstadt, "building the place is half the battle."

Eisenstadt says finding the 80 to 85 million dollars to build a new arena won't be the toughest part of this project.

"There are a variety of ways your can approach a construction project of this magnitude. Of course, you've got sales tax revenue you can carve out, you've got property tax revenue you can carve out," says Eisenstadt.

All of which are outlined as options in the feasibility study, along with meal tax, hotel tax, and finding corporate sponsorship, but the question remains.

Can this facility sustain itself?

"It has to attract dollars into the area that would not already be spent here," says Eisenstadt.

He says to be realistic about building this arena, and know that the financial return may eventually come around but that no one should rely on it as the reason for the new project.

"You build something like this first and foremost because it's a good thing for the city to have, for the city and community to enjoy, and you build it secondarily for some financial benefit in the future, but don't do that as the sole purpose."

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