Councilman responds to Monroe arena study - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Councilman responds to Monroe arena study

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - After plans for a potential new arena were released last week, one city councilman gives us his thoughts.

Mayor Jamie Mayo and Councilman Ray Armstrong have been known to have their differences, but when talking about a potential new arena in Monroe, Armstrong didn't say "no." He tells KNOE he's open-minded to the idea.

"I will keep an open mind, but I have great questions about where we are going to find the money to build the $85 million construction," says Armstrong.

As ULM Economics Professor Robert Eisenstadt pointed out last week, the one time construction costs aren't the only issues.

Armstrong questions where the funding will flow from, but says the idea of a new arena is great.

"I love the idea," says Armstrong, "That, combined with a new intermodal facility, would be wonderful."

Yet he still asks, "do we have the population to support that?"

"Places like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, they're destination cities, so we have to look at what would attract people to come to this area," says Armstrong.

Armstrong isn't convinced that the arena itself is enough to bring in visitors, but the economic aspect is his top concern.  He doesn't want tax payers to take on a heavier burden.

"I would be opposed to a tax, and I think my constituents would be opposed to a tax, but you know something, I'll ask them."

He wants to leave paying the taxes up to the tax payers. So if and when it comes time to fund a new complex, those that will be using it most, will have some control.

Each of the council members have gotten a copy of the arena study, some of them are on vacation right now and haven't gotten the chance to look through it. They say they've got plenty of time as building a new arena is certainly not a done deal.

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