Local group proposes plans for new dirt event facility

Group presents resolution to Lubbock County Court for dirt facility idea

LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - After the citizens of Lubbock voted to abandon the Municipal Auditorium and Coliseum, a local group has proposed a plan to eventually build a new dirt event facility for the county.

Monday, Randy Jordan, who heads up the group, presented a resolution to the Lubbock County Commissioners to increase the venue, or visitors tax, by two percent for those staying in County hotels. This means the venue tax, which is currently 13 percent, would be raised to 15 percent. This would help fund a dirt event facility that could play host to the ABC Rodeo, among many other events.

"The city and Tech has said to the ABC Rodeo that you've got the use of the Coliseum for 2019. So that's going to leave the ABC Rodeo, which has been an integral part of our community for years and has raised thousands of dollars for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lubbock, without a home," Jordan said. "So, we're in a timing issue here. We need to move as quickly and felicitously as we can. So, our group felt like we need to get on this and go."

Jordan said although the urgency is here now, this is something the group has been looking into for years. Much of the presentation was based off a feasibility study done in 2015 for a dirt event center.

"They came in and look at the numbers and everything and did a very comprehensive feasibility study that told us 'guys y'all are missing out on some wonderful opportunities by not having a venue such as this,'" Jordan said. "So, the study told us that 1. You're capable of doing it and 2. You have the need for it."

Patti Jones, County Commissioner for Precinct Four, said now would be a good time to start thinking about the proposed facility.

"This is a facility that has been long overdue for Lubbock," Jones said. "Timing is right, right now to move forward with this and again it's not going to affect people's property taxes and the voters are the ones that are going to get to decide on this. We'll just be calling the election."

First, the plans must be approved by the comptroller's office, then brought back before the county commissioner's. The commissioners then can decide whether to hold a special election in November for citizens to vote on the plans.

Jordan wants to be clear: this proposal will not have an impact on Lubbock County taxpayers but rather visitors to the County.

"If this is voted on and approved, it will not affect the Lubbock taxpayer's tax dollars," Jordan said. "This one item or this one proposal will not impact the Lubbock voters property taxes."

Jordan also discussed the committee overseeing this project not asking the County for money to maintain the facility if it is built.

"We also do not plan to come back and ask the County for operating money. We feel like that between endowments and money that we've been able to raise in the private sector, we'll be able to have enough money to endow that the interest of that would be enough to carry the operations... at least short-term until this building gets up and going and will cash-flow on it's own."

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