10,000-seat arena could be built in Lauderdale County - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

10,000-seat arena could be built in Lauderdale County

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)
(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)

A 10,000-seat arena may soon come to the Shoals.

Legislators are looking to build a nearly $30 million dollar AG center in Lauderdale County paid for with a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan.

The facility would be built on 167 acres of privately owned land behind the Florence Fire Station two south of Highway 72. They want Tennessee Valley Authority's in-lieu-of-tax dollars and an existing 2-cent gas tax to help pay back the loan.

Many Florence leaders love the concept but are a bit concerned with how it will affect their budget. It's still very much in the rough draft stage and it's catching a lot of attention.

"It’s the center that we've been talking about I guess in the city of Florence for 20 years," said Florence Mayor Steve Holt.

City Council members heard plans for a large AG center in the middle of Lauderdale County. It would be a multi-purpose enclosed arena with 1,000 horse stalls that could draw thousands to the Shoals.

The downside is it might take away TVA's in-lieu-of-tax dollars that’s been a part of the city’s general fund budget.

"We have a $57 million budget and it's razor-thin, and we haven't had a revenue adjustment in 15 years, so we'll have to see what we can do. I don't want us to focus on what we can cut. We are doing what we got to do to operate our city," Holt said.

"There is $305,000 removing from them or reducing, but the overall impact from lodging tax and other sales tax should more than make up for that deficit," said Sen Tim Melson.

The overall cost of the building and where that money will come from is still to be determined, and Melson, who's been working on this project for two years, said it’s about time to bring a big venue to the area where it's known as the hit recording capitol of the world.

"So I’ve got the music industry backing me, the horse industry, and UNA, they're on board. They want home basketball games. They're going D1, so their bigger games, not all of them, not all of them," he said.

He would like to break ground in six to nine months and see the thing built in two years.

"We want to make sure it’s done right. We want to make sure that we don't go back like some of these places and say we should of done this or we should of done that," he said.

The project already has the support of county officials.

A new career technical school and workforce development center is also being considered to be on the same property.

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