Most poll respondents doubt city arena idea

A majority of Free Press readers who responded to an online poll indicate they have doubts about the wisdom of building a $100 million arena in downtown Monroe.

   Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo is pursuing the construction of the arena to attract tourists to the city and build the economy. He says the present arena, which seats 7,600 is too small to attract large shows. The new arena he envisions will seat 10,000.
   Most poll respondents (54 percent) had some degree of reservation about the idea.

   Most of those who doubt the idea (27 percent) point to the fact that the civic center has 300 shows a year and has rarely, if ever, been filled to its 7,600 capacity. They don’t believe a new, larger building will change that fact. Some (15 percent) say $100 million to add a little more than a thousand seats is too much. Still, others believe (12 percent) the population of our city, 50,000, is too small to support an arena of the size proposed.

   Among those who favor the idea (46 percent) believe the new building will attract tourist (22 percent) and larger concerts ( 16 percent) and increased tourism would provide the financial boost needed to sustain the center (8 percent).