Civic Center shines with ‘participatory’ events 6/17/2014

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Civic Center shines with ‘participatory’ events

By John Howell

The forecast that predicts more than a week of sunny weather with little chance for thundershowers will allow area construction work to resume, including the joint city/county project to complete RV pads at the Batesville Civic Center.

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The project to build 20 pads with services began in late winter only to be plagued since with wet weather.

“It’s gradually coming along,” BCC Director Roy Hyde said last week at the weekly meeting of the Batesville Exchange Club.

“The water, sewer, electric is complete; pads are poured and ready to go,” Hyde said. “The county finished putting in the loop road and the lead-ups to the pads last week.”

Hyde’s remarks provided an overview of the civic center’s operation during its 10-year history.

“Where we shine is the participatory-type events,” Hyde said. “These are the ones that bring most of their people with them. The UKC or a horse show would be a perfect example of that.

“That is pure economic impact there. It will bring in dollars that aren’t from Batesville to be spent in Batesville that would not ordinarily be spent in Batesville if it were not for the event,” the BCC director continued.

The facility is less-suited to host spectator events driven by ticket sales, according to Hyde.

“We’re not as competitive in that area, simply because of the numbers,” Hyde said, citing the Panola County market area’s 40,000 population contrasted with one million people in the greater Memphis area, 45 miles north.

The United Kennel Club’s 2014 Winter Classic hosted at BCC in January, brought in almost $1 million in additional spending this year over their first Winter Classic hosted at BCC in 2013, Hyde said.

“That’s pretty impressive.”

The O’Reilly Kart Nationals hosted at BCC during the Thanksgiving weekend in November, “bring in a lot more people, and they’re here for a lot longer,” Hyde said.

“Most of these venues operate on a P and L at a deficit. You have to look at the economic impact or it’s not worth it,” the BCC director said.

“But I’m sure quite a few of the retailers, … appreciate that extra million dollars,” Hyde continued.

“You need to try to do something for everybody,” Hyde said. “Or you get groups that feel left out.”

Last weekend BCC hosted the Tri-Lake Gun and Knife Show.

Upcoming BCC events

On June 19, the Governor’s Job Fair will return to BCC for its 10th annual visit.

The next day, Friday, June 20 the Celebrity Weekend Comedy Show will feature K-Dub.

A Celebrity Car Show will round out that busy June weekend with its 10th annual show on Saturday, June 21.

“Right now we’re hovering around 140 event days annually, so basically there’s something going on every three days,” Hyde said.

“We do everything from the arena cross to a wedding reception; you’ve got a lot of smaller, private stuff as well,” Hyde said.


Responding to questions, Hyde provided other information about BCC including:

• The facility has 3,022 permanent seats with the capability of adding folding chairs to the arena floor that will increase total seating capacity to almost 8,000;

• BCC has been the target of no lawsuits during its 10-year history. Hyde said that BCC’s business model places responsibility for liability on promoters who lease the facility for shows;

• Lynn Dover holds the contract to operate BCC’s concession facilities and to cater events hosted there.

New RV pads 

Hyde intensely lobbied Batesville’s mayor and aldermen for several years, trying to convince them to spend the money to build RV pads with connections.

Last summer, city officials agreed to fund the construction in stages, starting with the 20 pads now nearing completion. Hyde is coordinating vendors, contractors and city and county equipment and labor to  complete the project.

“It’s going to help us be more attractive to some events that wouldn’t even consider using the building up to this point,” he said. The pads will be available Monday through Thursday for transient traffic.

“We’re very, very well-located. Our accessibility is great … You can see 55 from the RV lot,” Hyde continued.