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Ouachita Parish tourism leaders pledge $6M to build indoor sports facility

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 5:39 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - West Monroe just got a major investment toward a multi-million dollar sports facility that’s been in the works. The Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau pledged $6 million.

The multi-use indoor sports center will cost about $18 million to build and it is expected to bring in up to $17 million a year, according to the CVB’s President and CEO Alana Cooper.

The CVB started researching the feasibility of this project five years ago. The leaders say it’s a good investment, just like the Ike Hamilton Expo Center.

“Recession proof and even COVID proof. Last year the softball baseball fields we invested in became a good return on investment. Because of COVID we were able to play ball and those facilities were very busy last summer and they helped definitely keep our tourism economy strong during a time when it was very difficult for many other locations,” Cooper said.

Cooper said it could draw people from across the South.

“We’ll have an opportunity to draw people for a good wide region. Basically from Birmingham to Dallas and then south and north of Little Rock” said Cooper.

People would be able to host a variety of events in the large, multi-use facility, such as basketball, volleyball, martial arts, dance, cheer, gymnastics, and indoor sports like badminton and pickleball, and more.

The next step is getting approved for a bond. They’re working with a builder to start the design process.

“We’re going to the bonding commission, both the city and us. Once we’re approved for a bonding, we’ll start that. But also, we’re starting the process to do the build, to design. The architect is working with potential builders to start the process to start that. We’ll have a builder decided upon who will work with them to build and design it to make sure it is meeting the needs of the different sports we’re wanting to include in the facility,” Cooper explained.

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