Civic Center pavilion funding being explored
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Oct. 6, 2004 -- Hopkins County commissioners will be meeting with representatives of local financial institutions during a workshop session at 10 a.m. Thursday to develop a plan to use local financing for a planned new pavilion at Hopkins County Regional Civic Center.

The expansion plans call for the construction of a 66,000 square foot pavilion that would house some 200 stalls for horses or other livestock. according to Civic Center Board spokesman Roy King.

"What we are wanting to do is build a pavilion that will house about 200 stalls that will be rented out in two- and three-day events -- horse events mostly," King said. "We're trying to get that thing built and get it going."

Precinct 1 Commissioner Beth Wisenbaker said Wednesday the plan proposed by the Civic Center board looks to be very viable.

"Based on the building plan and the projected revenues Civic Center Manager Joey Baker put together, it looks like a very viable plan," she said. "I believe in it enough I would be willing to go ahead with the project."

County Judge Cletis Millsap said commissioners anticipate the new expansion will pay for itself through revenues it generates.

"The money that comes in will be from the hotel-motel payment," said Millsap. "We don't plan to put any county tax money or other money we have set aside for other county operations into this operation at this time. We think it will stand alone and work very efficiently."

Wisenbaker qualified her support for the project by saying the cost of the project would have to be paid through increased revenues at the Civic Center and the hotel occupancy tax revenues.

"As long as it's structured that way, I think it's a win-win proposition for everybody," she said. "Eventually, what you would hope would happen, the new pavilion would pay itself off, you would still be generating this new revenue, and it would take down the portion of money the county has to put into the Civic Center."

Following an agreement reached by county commissioners during an August meeting, Civic Center Board Chairwoman Judy Tipping said the board was quite pleased.

"I think this is just more evidence of how people in Hopkins County can sit and work together whatever the issue may be," she said. "We have studied this for a year and a half to two years and it takes a lot of planning. We are just pleased today that we made the decision and we are getting [pavilion] off the ground -- we're on go -- we are just confident this will enhance opportunities of Hopkins County and the Northeast Texas area to bring activities in which, as a result, will help the community."

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