Coliseum Needs Cash Infusion

Officials are weighing the options for a 45-year-old arena in Alexandria, La., after voters recently defeated a referendum that would establish a maintenance tax for the facility.

If passed, the tax would have generated an estimated $900,000 annually for a 10-year period to fund renovations to the Rapides Parish Coliseum’s electrical system, roof, restrooms and parking lot.

However, completely refurbishing the parish-operated venue would require more than $10 million in repairs, according to a 2008 coliseum authority report.

“It is obvious that everyday maintenance, by the management and the in-house crew, has been neglected for many years,” the report says. Without funding for capital improvements and an aggressive marketing campaign to increase revenues, the venue could be seen as a “threat to public health, safety and welfare” and should be “scheduled for demolition.”

But the current state of the Coliseum isn’t the only problem officials face.

Venue manager Don Guillory has announced plans to retire May 1, according to the local Town Talk newspaper.