Agricenter Problems Discussed

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Should the county operate the new concessions stand being built at the Lauderdale County Agricenter or should it let a private entity do it and pay the county a percentage?

District 5 supervisor Ray Boswell said the center is losing money and concession income could help.

"Concessions is always a big big money item. That profit could be used to take care of the overhead," Boswell said.

The board voted to solicit bids from private operators. From there it turned to an issue that has become a safety concern, people parking on the highway instead of using the center's parking lot when a major event is held.

"If anybody rides out there and looks, there's an accident waiting to happen out there," Boswell said. "There's hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, maybe even thousands of vehicles parked on the side of the road out there."

"The Agricenter has outgrown itself with these concerts. We had 6,100 people estimated at one of the recent concerts and it's outgrown itself," said Hank Florey, supervisor of District 1.

But board president Craig Hitt said there is plenty of parking available in the Agricenter's parking lot. People just aren't using it.

"Not anytime that I've been out there for an event has the parking been completely full in the Agricenter area," said Hitt. "I know it's probably confusing a lot of time. People go out there and they see people parking out on the highway and they think, well there's no parking inside and I've got to park out here. But we have never utilized all of the area we have."

Supervisor Jimmie Smith suggested the city, county and highway patrol coordinate their efforts on an event night to keep people off the highway's shoulders.

However, Sheriff Billy Sollie pointed out there's a communications problem. All of the agencies use different radio frequencies, so they would not have direct contact with each other. The problem remains unsolved.