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Supervisors consider contracting concessions at agri-center

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
July 8, 2003
Lauderdale County supervisors decided Monday to accept proposals from anyone interested in running a concession stand being built at the Lauderdale County Agri-Center.
The move, however, sparked questions from District 5 Supervisor Ray Boswell who said he thought the county would run the concession stand. The stand is expected to be completed by August.
Supervisors voted to advertise for bids for a concessionaire. Anyone interested would have to submit proposals for the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors to consider.
District 3 Supervisor Craig Hitt said the eight-member Lauderdale County Agri-Center Advisory Board is considering contracting out the operation of the concession stand.
Boswell's concerns
Boswell said the agri-center has been a big financial loss to Lauderdale County. And, he said, the county should consider running the concession stand itself.
Rob Seal, director of the agri-center for two years, said when contacted after the meeting that the center's value has to be put in proper perspective.
Seal said the center steadily brings money to local restaurants, motels and other businesses from out-of-towners who are participants or spectators of agri-center events.
Parking problems
Boswell added that supervisors need to address other agri-center issues that money earned from concessions could help fund namely buying more property for additional parking.
During many events at the agri-center, spectators park their vehicles along Highway 19 South.
District 1 Supervisor Hank Florey agreed that the agri-center has outgrown itself for some events. He said more than 6,000 people attended a recent concert at the agri-center.
Florey said he hopes the parking problems will be addressed. But he said he has confidence in the advisory board for the agri-center, which was appointed by the board of supervisors.