Monroe Looking Long Range

Officials in Monroe, La., think it’s time to look beyond its 43-year-old Monroe Civic Center.

The 7,600-capacity venue has hosted everyone from Elvis Presley to Garth Brooks but it’s just too small nowadays to recruit the big acts, according to city officials, who reportedly cited the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City as an example of its competition.

“In regards to obtaining major events and major acts and entertainment, they are looking for a minimum capacity and that is usually 10,000 or more,” director of community affairs John Ross told the News-Star. “We have had opportunities and inquired about opportunities to bring bigger acts and they just don’t want to come to a smaller venue.

Mayor Jamie Mayo told the paper the idea of a new arena is in the very early stages.

“The civic center was built in 1967 and it has served the city, the parish and the region well,” Mayo said. “Now, we have to lay the foundation for the next 50 years.”

Meanwhile, the Monroe Civic Center reportedly hosts more than 300 events a year like training seminars, symposiums, health fairs, dog shows, the Barak Shrine Circus and the Bayou Black Rodeo. Officials would like the current venue to stay open because its size is perfect for those events.