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Commissioners to continue setting $1.5 million aside for proposed livestock arena

The Stanly County Board of Commissioners passed a motion this month to continue to keep money budgeted for the potential construction of a livestock arena adjacent to the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center.

With Vice Chairman Ashley Morgan the only commissioner voting against the motion, the board approved keeping its $1.5 million commitment to build the arena.

Commissioners also approved in the motion the construction method for the arena which will be design and build rather than the design, bid and build method.

County Extension Director Lori Ivey presented a brief review of information the board received last September regarding the uses of such a venue.

The county raised slightly more than $2.8 million in pledges to build the arena, including a pledge of $250,000 from Stanly County Farm Bureau and a $10,000 payment from the Stanly County Cattleman’s Association.

Stanly lost $200,000 in grant money for the project from the N.C. Agricultural Development Trust Fund for equipment, which expired in September. The county has pledged $1.75 million and the state has pledged $175,000.

County Manager Andy Lucas said the arena has been designed already. The design-build method would include a “not to exceed” amount, Lucas said, and any costs from potential contractors would not have to include design work.

“If we break ground, we feel like we can sure additional dollars,” Ivey said referring to honor memory boards at $2,500 each.

Commissioner Tommy Jordan asked about 100 to 150 percent increases in costs of building materials, saying if the county went to a contractor now and tried to have the arena built at $3.4 million “he’d laugh you out of the building.”

Lucas said raising money has been limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of the situation.

Lucas recommended giving an additional year to the arena’s steering committee to allow additional funding. Jordan said he would not have a problem for another year, with the understanding he would not vote yes one more time.

“If someone gives you $1.5 million and says your only job is to collect the last 25 percent of it, someone would be on the phone every single day,” Jordan said. “I wouldn’t come back and say, ‘I got $5,000.’…if your goal is the remaining $500,000 and you came back with $5,000, I take it nobody seriously wants to see that arena built and we just put the money somewhere else.”

Lucas said “if the community wants to see this thing happen, the community is going to have to step up and put the $500,000 there.”

Commissioner Zach Almond made the motion for the $1.5 million to stay committed to the project, not counting the prior committed $250,000 which had already been partly spent on the design. It was seconded by Commissioner Lane Furr.

Before voting on the motion, Morgan said he was for the program but not for the additional money, saying the money should go to other projects.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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