Lubbock County dirt arena one step closer to reality

Lubbock County dirt arena one step closer to reality

LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock County is one step closer to having a dirt arena.

Lubbock County Commissioners agreed to send a plan to fund the arena to state officials, to make sure it would be legal for a venue tax increase to go before the voters.

The arena, tentatively known as the Lubbock County Expo Center, would become the new home for the ABC Rodeo and similar events in Lubbock.

Randy Jordan is one of the people championing the arena, and he says this vote was a big move forward.

"This is a venue that's long been needed and we're excited about having the opportunity to move forward with a very worthwhile, valuable project to Lubbock County," Jordan said.

If approved by voters this fall, the hotel occupancy tax in Lubbock County would increase from 13 percent to 15 percent for nightly stays; that 2 percent increase for the county is what is proposed for the ballot.

Jordan says the expo center would be designed by Populous Architecture, a design firm known for sports facilities like Texas A&M's Kyle Field, Baylor's McClane Stadium and NRG Stadium in Houston.

Lubbock currently has a 13 percent hotel/motel venue tax but that money goes to the city and state, not the county.

The state requires any proposed change to that tax be approved first by the state comptrollers office.

Randy Johnson is asking that the hotel/motel tax be increased by 2 percent for the sole purpose of paying off the estimated $40 million it would take to build the Expo Center.

So the first step, initiated Monday night, was for Lubbock County Commissioners to pass a resolution to send that proposal to the comptrollers office, to make sure a non-profit would be allowed that extra tax money to build a dirt arena.

After the comptrollers office approves the resolution, commissioners can then set a date for an election so the voters can decide if they want to increase the venue tax for the purpose of building the arena.

So commissioners have not passed or approved the arena at this time. Only the voters can do that once the state says commissioners are allowed to put that venue tax increase on the ballot.

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