Residents see events center as multi-use
Published: Saturday, July 12th, 2003
If the results of an informal, “man-on-the-street” poll are any indication, residents want the proposed Curry County special events center to be a multi-use building. After years of controversy, the County Commission approved a design for the convention center July 2. Commissioners have said they hope to consider architect and builder contracts for the building sometime in August and to have the convention center completed before next year’s county fair. Residents caught on sidewalks or outside stores in Clovis came up with a range of ideas for the multi-million dollar center located located at the Curry County fairgrounds. “I sure hope we’ll see equestrian events; the Lipizzaner stallions, the Budweiser Clydesdales, horse show competitions, anything with show livestock,” said Jan Nolan of Clovis. “It should be on weekends and later in the evening, so that people will have time to get there.” Jason Taylor, Casey Bowman and Justin Leeper, all of Clovis, who rode bulls in the High Plains Junior Rodeo Finals this week, echoed Nolan’s call for agricultural events, but they added one important element. “Softer dirt,” said Leeper. “They do need inside bull chutes,” Taylor added, “Bullriding is the event where you sweat the most and right now all the chutes are outside.” John Loper of Clovis said he’d like to see another “dirt” oriented form of entertainment come to the county center — motocross racing. “They had that last year and I enjoyed it. I’d go to see rodeo, motocross, trucks or smash up derbies,” he said. Ralph Bell of Clovis said he’d like to see events brought to the center that would entertain young people, particularly older teenagers. “X-games — roller skating, roller blading and skateboarding,” he said. But Bell, along with Catherine Hall of Texico and Andrea Kilian of Clovis said he’d also like the county to bring music to the center. “Local bands, out-of-town bands, maybe even like the concerts they do in Ned Houk Park — even plays,” Hall said. “I’m into concerts and right now and the only place we have in town for them is Marshall auditorium,” said Kilian. Debbie Myers said she, too, wants the county to build an events center that can hold concerts. “They should make it big enough that anything could come here. If it’s only as big as what we already have, why build it? I’d love it if (Gospel singer) Bill Gaither could come here. Every time he comes to Lubbock, it’s a sell out,” she said. Johnny Honrato of Clovis said the events center should be open for community uses as well. “I’d like to see people be able to hold private events there,” he said. “Here in Clovis there are huge family gatherings and sometimes there’s not enough room in the park.” The case for a center accessible to the community also was made by Chase Gentry, executive director of the Clovis Industrial Development Corporation. “I think the taxpayers of Curry County are paying for this. It needs to be available for people in the community to use. Hopefully, it will spur some new events in the community,” Gentry said. Chamber of Commerce director Ernie Kos said one element will be key to the events center’s success, especially in its initial stages. “Hire the right manager,” she said. “That person will need to know how to procure equestrian events and promote the center successfully.” But City Commissioner Gloria Wicker said she could reduce the key to success to one word -- although one repeated several times. “Stalls,” she said, referring to facilities where visitors to Curry County could lodge horses. “Stalls, stalls, stalls. If we had stalls, we’d probably be booking [our current arena] 75 percent of the year,” she said.
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