On New Years Day, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo called a press conference at the Monroe Civic Center to announce his next big project, a brand new arena. About a week later my news director announced MY next big project, a four part special series for the February book, looking into the proposed arena.
Immediately the gears began turning in my head. Surely, Monroe isn’t the only city who has been faced with the age-old question: renovate an aging arena or build new? So I did my research and found that not one but three nearby cities had to make similar decisions in recent years: Little Rock, Shreveport-Bossier, and Alexandria.
I visited most of the cities and interviewed the people who had been through the process, two chose to build new and one chose to renovate. Each had their reasons that worked for them. I also interviewed the company conducting the feasibility study that would ultimately offer a recommendation to Monroe.
In the end I travelled to Jackson, MS., Bossier City, La., and Alexandria, La., and it was a neat experience because I had never been to Bossier and Alexandria. All of the travelling meant working a lot of unpaid overtime, but in the end I think it was well worth it, providing viewers with a well-rounded series with different perspectives. What is my opinion of the whole deal? Let the tax payers decide and they will. Like I said at the end of my fourth report, in order to pay for the project ultimately the tax payers will choose whether to fund the project and decide if the Mayor’s next big project will become more than just a vision.
You can watch my full 4-part series here: