Here’s how to fill the arena

Published 12:39 am Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Well, if you’ve been reading The Star-News, you’re probably aware we have quite the predicament out at the Covington Center Arena.

For those living under a rock, I’ll give you a rundown.

The $3.37 million in outstanding debt on the facility represents 42 percent of the county’s total general obligation debt. The county also spends approximately $427,471 on the arena each year.

Pardon the pun, but I hate to beat a dead horse, but to me, it doesn’t make much sense or cents if you think about it; we can’t continue to funding something likes this.

The county is broke, folks.

I mean to the point where we as citizens need to understand that the slogan “shop local” isn’t just a slogan, it’s the way the county (and cities) pave our roads, build our brides and fund our schools.

When you take away that revenue base — i.e., spend all your money at the Wal-Mart in Enterprise — you’re putting money in their pockets and making sure their city streets don’t have potholes.

And if you know anything at all about the arena, you know the million dollar question is who in the world would want to lease it.

I’ve thought it through and I know who should be at the top of the list for the commission when they get ready to send out that query packet to folks who might be interested in using that space. I got three.

Ready? Santa, the World Wrestling Federation and the lady who runs the mini golf course in Florala.

Think about it. In light of the holiday season and current economic situation, it makes a lot of sense (and cents, if you think about it) to get the big guy in red to use it as a training facility for his reindeer fleet. I mean we’ve got the stalls all ready, and goodness knows we’ve got enough hay in this county to adequately feed them.

And those wraslin’ people…well, I think Mr. Chairman might have been on to something when he suggested contacting them. People would turn out by the droves to watch some good ol’ mud wraslin’, wouldn’t they? All that clay… Then they could turn around and charge spectators to hose off those girls that hold those signs. I can see dollar signs.

And then Mrs. Jerry Kimbril in Florala. All she needs is a few bags of Quikcrete and some Astroturf, and bam! Instant indoor golf course.

You laugh, but think about it.

It’s creative, right?

And that’s exactly what our commission is going to have to do to solve the riddle of the arena – get creative; think outside the box; go after those who might even remotely be interested in the building.

The financial state of county depends on it.