(Southaven) DeSoto County loaned the DeSoto Civic Center 7.5 million interest free dollars a dozen years ago to help get the place off the ground.
Now that the place has become arguably the most successful venue in the Mid-South, local leaders say it’s time to pay the loan back.
Supervisor Mark Gardner sat on the committee that helped design the DeSoto Civic Center and says it’s more successful than anyone had ever dreamed.
That’s why he wants the tourism board to start repaying the loan it took from the County to get the place started, ”We’ve got great concerts there, we’ve got the Riverkings, got all kinds of events there. We got naming rights, the tourism tax revenue is up so it’s time to start repaying some of that debt."
When a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies shut down the Pyramid and the Mid-South Coleseum, DeSoto suddenly became the most affordable place for promoters to stage concerts.
Residents agree, it’s time to start repaying that startup loan.
”They’ve been having more concerts the City needs to make other improvements and so they need to be refunded for that money” said Darlene Blanco of Southaven.
The arena, now known as the "Landers Center" includes a small theatre for stage productions and even a small convention center.
There’s almost always something going on in at least one part of this complex.
”We had loaned them the money, so if they’re such a big success now, they should give the money back” said Kristin Cox.
Besides, folks here say the tourism board shouldn’t get treated any different than anyone else.
"Well, if it’s something that needs to be paid for and hasn’t been, sure. Everybody’s got to pay their money somehow" explained Gwen Herron of Horn lake.
After all, Gardner says DeSoto has other needs, and other uses for that 7.5 million dollars, ”We’ve got lots of things we’d like to do with the County”.
Garner mentions maybe raises for County employees since they’ve gone without for years.
There are also road repairs and other projects needed here too.