The sale of Lone Star Arena, Erath County’s only large events center, to Cody and Luanne Johnson will not take place.
The Johnsons had requested economic assistance of up to $1.2 million from the Stephenville Economic Development Authority. However, in looking at their request, it was discovered that the arena is outside the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the city and thus SEDA has no authority to act in the matter.
Consequently, at Tuesday's meeting of the Stephenville City Council, members met in closed session and agreed to set up a summit on what direction to take in regard to a large events center for the area.
In a phone interview with John Hubbard, executive director of SEDA, he explained, “Since SEDA had no authority to act on the Johnson request, it was decided by the city council to form an advisory board to look into what alternatives might be available in terms of a large events center.”
Hubbard directed the E-T to inquire as to exact language in the matter from the minutes of that meeting and city secretary Cindy Stafford sent the following press release from the city council:
“Council to instruct Interim City Administrator Wayne McKethan to call for a summit within 45 days to discuss the economic development of an events center for the community to include city of Stephenville, Erath County, Stephenville Economic Development Corporation, SEDA, Chamber of Commerce board of directors, Tarleton State University and Stephenville Independent School District to ask that this meeting be conducted to inform those entities and request for input and cooperation as we as a community move forward to try to solve this problem together. We don’t have any details on the agenda, but we are asking that the goal be to come up with a long-term strategy for our community for an events center.”
As background on the Lone Star Arena possibility, the E-T visited the Erath County Appraisal District office and the Erath County Tax Office and obtained documents showing a current appraised value of the arena at $1,180,068 and taxes listed as current, with total payments to the tax office for 2016 of $36,981.