Saturday, January 8, 2011


A suggestion for a sports facility from Roque Vela Jr. in today's LMT Editorial Page.

Stadium to host big events, draw outside money would be smart use of sports revenue tax

Published: Saturday, January 8, 2011 2:25 AM CST
To the editor:

I recently went hunting in El Paso for mule deer.

 I’ve been going hunting there off and on for about 12 years and have realized how similar that community is to ours.

Spending time there every year toward the end of November and beginning of December, I have always taken interest in the Sun Bowl, as the teams are announced during that time span.

This year I took particular interest since the game this year featured Notre Dame versus Miami.

Early projections of the economic impact this would bring to El Paso were $70 to $80 million, most of which will be outside money coming into the city.

How does this affect Laredo?

At the moment, unless you’re a Notre Dame or Miami fan, it doesn’t.

But, what if we scrapped the baseball stadium idea nobody is really sold on?

The economic impact would be minimal, with most of the money coming from locals going to the ballpark.

Hence, the stadium would just be competing with other local business for the entertainment dollar without making that pot larger.

Basically, it would be the LEA all over again.

Don’t get me wrong; I think the arena has done a lot for our community raising the quality of life in our city, but it has really been a struggle to make it a success, and the economic impact has not been much.

As a matter of fact, that arena has been paid for by the citizens of this community over and over again!

So, we have about $27 million in the sports revenue tax and growing.

Let’s not spend it on something that we really don’t need and are not really sure we want.

Let’s invest it wisely.

Let’s build a 70,000-seat stadium that can attract one of these bowl games.

Now, granted, we won’t fill as many dates as a baseball stadium, and it will cost more, but if we can just be patient, we can really make something out of this money in the sports revenue tax and bring in some real outside money into the community!

I’m not saying this is a slam dunk of an idea, but if we are going to throw money away, let’s throw it away on something that can really take this city to the next level.


Roque Vela Jr.

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