(KCBD) - This week's Consider This is a guest commentary from Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope.
I'm Mayor Dan Pope. I want to thank NewsChannel 11's Dan Jackson for giving me this chance to visit with you about Proposition 1 on the City of Lubbock ballot.
When I was elected two years ago, one of the biggest issues I saw in the City budget was the Municipal Auditorium & Coliseum. They weren't being used near enough to cover their own cost. In fact, taxpayers were losing over six hundred thousand dollars a year just to maintain them.
These facilities were built by Lubbock taxpayers in 1956, and owned by the City. They are located on Tech's property, and we have no option to sell the buildings.
In 1999, Texas Tech, opened the fabulous United Supermarkets Arena.
When that happened, the Coliseum lost its main tenant overnight…the Tech basketball teams.
At the same time, the new Arena took concerts away from both the Auditorium and Coliseum.
In the 19 years since, Minor League hockey, arena football and touring Broadway theatre productions have come and gone.
So we come back to the present.
Buddy Holly Hall is now under construction downtown and will provide a world-class facility for concerts and theatrical productions.
Texas Tech would like to be able to use the land for their growing student needs and they are willing to pay for demolition costs. When Tech grows and prospers…so does the entire City! Just look at the explosion of new housing, apartments, hotels, and restaurants to see proof of that.
Our Council studied the past, including the 2004 bond funds that were originally intended for the Auditorium but used instead by a previous Council to update the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center.
Use of these older facilities was declining and it would take $15 million dollars to bring them up to date. These investments had run their course.
Our Council voted unanimously to take this issue to the voters and see if they agreed that the Auditorium-Coliseum have served us well but it is time to move forward.
You can vote YES, to "abandon" the Auditorium-Coliseum to Tech for their use.
Or you can vote NO, to keep the buildings.
If citizens tell us they want to keep the Auditorium & Coliseum, it will trigger another community-wide discussion, which is how to fund the estimated $15 million dollars necessary to make them usable again.
No matter how you feel about this issue, I urge you to make your voice heard by VOTING, on Election Day, Saturday May 5th.
It's a GREAT Day in Lubbock, Texas! Thank you.
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