Love Civic Center Stock

Work to renovate and modernize the 25-year-old Love Civic Center should begin soon after Paris City Council took action to secure $1.5 million in funds, which will be collected through the city’s hotel occupancy tax.

Work is to begin soon on the refurbishment of Love Civic Center after Paris City Council took action Monday to secure $1.5 million in funds and guarantee upfront money spent by the Lamar Chamber of Commerce would be reimbursed.

“I am glad City Council took action tonight because we were looking at six or seven months before we could do anything,” Chamber of Commerce President Paul Allen said after the meeting.

Council approved a convention management agreement and a resolution of intent to reimburse costs spent by the chamber when funds from certificates of obligation are received, sometime after the first of the year.

The installation of a state-of-the-art audio and visual system, expected to cost about $250,000, is first on the list of planned renovations of the civic center built in 1994, Allen said.

“Our next step tomorrow is to reach out to all the people who have placed bids to make sure everything we want is covered,” Allen said, explaining he anticipates work to begin within two months or sooner. “Ever how long that takes will determine when work will begin.”

Allen said Brad Archer with Archer Construction and Design assisted the civic center board with specifications for the audio and visual system.

“Brad sent out specifications to six or seven different companies, and they came back with prices,” Allen said, explaining bids will be presented to the civic center board for selection of a firm or firms to do the work.

With more than $350,000 in reserves, Allen said the board will move forward with other projects after work is complete on the audio and visual system.

“We have to look at what events are already scheduled at the civic center because we will have to work around those,” Allen said.

In a May 4 vote, Paris residents approved a 2-cent increase as a venue tax to the city’s hotel tax, bringing the total tax to 15 cents, which includes a 6-cent state tax. The venue tax increases the city’s tax from 7 to 9 cents. Funds from the tax must be spent to renovate, repair and otherwise improve Love Civic Center.

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at mary.madewell@theparisnews.com.

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