Debate sparked over fate of coliseum

Debate sparked over fate of coliseum

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

In Mayor Dan Popes weekly address, he asked, is it worth it?'

"We lose about $700,000 a year in the operation of those two facilities," Pope said.

The Lubbock Municipal Auditorium and Coliseum has been around since the 1950s. It housed Tech's men and women's basketball for years. But LEPAA board member, Tim Collins said it is not living up to expectations. 

"The issue is the facility is inadequate." Collins said, "Its not desirable at this point." 

The city owned facilities only tenant is the ABC Pro Rodeo. Rodeo chairman Cary Jones said without the coliseum, the rodeo is not possible. 

"We need a facility that like that we've been in for 75 years to be able to keep going back there and utilizing that type of space," Jones said.

Jones said that the city has not confronted the organization about this debate. 

"Anything to be closed without some other place for us to be able to hold the rodeo or anything that we can do our fundraisers at, stuff like that would be just devastating," Jones said.

Ambucs Board chairman Ray Short said the rodeo's purpose is to give back to the community.

"The last three years alone, we have given over 300 thousand dollars to the Lubbock Boys and Girls Club and other charities," Short said.

 The mayor said if the city does vote to abandon the facilities, he does not want the ABC Rodeo to be left without any options. Collins said LEPAA is in the early stages of discussing a solution.   

"I think it's great to have the discussion." Collins said. "We need a dirt floor facility in Lubbock, we're an agricultural based community." 

 He said in order to have a successful facility, it needs to be multifunctional.

"The only way to be profitable is to make sure the facility has ample opportunity to have some weight." Collins said. "I think that's what this boils down to, we've got to make sure that the citizens have a way to use it and has an activity that their interested in going to."

 Rodeo organizers said there are no other venues that could accommodate the week-long event. It attracts 22,000 people every year. No date has been set for this issue to be brought up at a council meeting.    

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