Another Council Member Makes Effort To Halt New Visitors Center - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/23/08

Another Council Member Makes Effort To Halt New Visitors Center

Another Lubbock City Council member presents a last ditch effort to halt plans for a new visitors center. At a news conference Councilman John Leonard opposed the center, saying he would like to see a new center built but not for the current price.

 "I want a visitor's center. My only problem with this is the price tag. I believe that $7-million is too much for a visitor's center," John Leonard said.

After multiple votes in favor of a new visitor's center, Councilman Leonard says he will no longer support the council's efforts.

"I had wanted a visitor's center and I didn't want to vote no on it at that time and that's what I'm standing here before you today apologizing to you the citizens of Lubbock for not doing the right thing in the first place," Leonard added.

In March of 2007, the Lubbock City Council, including Leonard, voted unanimously to purchase this building and the land at 19th and Crickets Avenue. Then just last month, the council voted seven to zero to increase the center's budget from $2.9 million to $6.7 million. At the same meeting, Councilman Todd Klein was the only council member to oppose approving a contract with the design company.

"The visitor's centers is going to be over $900 a square foot and by any definition by any means that's simply outrageous. And the citizens are outraged and the public opinion is against this issue," Leonard said.

During Leonard's news conference, the President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce questioned the councilman's' statements.

"What we're really speaking out against here is that the majority of public opinion does not support Councilman Leonard perspective," Eddie McBride said.

So now, on Thursday's city council agenda, Councilman Todd Klein has proposed an item that would put a hold on the project.

"If nothing else an opportunity to take a deep breath as a community and listen to the will of the people," Klein added. 

"If new information is given then I will certainly consider it otherwise I will stand where I am," Mayor David Miller said.

NewsChannel 11 made calls and found out the City of San Angelo has a new visitor's center facility. The building opened four years ago and is more than just a tourist stop. It houses the chamber of commerce, San Angelo Health foundation and is a conference facility. The facility's price tag is just over five million dollars.

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