Ag. Dept: Garrett Coliseum will remain open

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Garrett Coliseum, a Montgomery landmark for 60 years, will stay open, according to the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries. An agreement was reached Wednesday to save the facility from closure.

"This fine lady has been a good friend to the people of Alabama, hosting the fair, rodeos, concerts and even Elvis Presley, since 1951," said Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan. "Today, we have taken steps to see that she will remain in good working order and may even receive a face lift and other help in the near term."

McMillan said several options to revive the facility are being discussed. The complex will be operated, on an interim basis, by the Alabama National Fair.

The State Agriculture Commissioner chairs the Agriculture Center Redevelopment Board, created by legislation passed earlier this year. The new legislation expanded the Agriculture Center Board to include the Governor, State Finance Director, Commissioner of Agriculture, Mayor of Montgomery, President of the Montgomery City Council, County Commission Chair plus four others who currently sit on the Agriculture Center Board.

"The legislation brought together all stakeholders necessary for Garrett Coliseum to be successful. All who have a vested interest in the coliseum are involved and committed to its success," said McMillan.

McMillan said all efforts are being made to accommodate previously scheduled events, including the upcoming fair, which is set for October. He thanked numerous officials for "stepping up" their responsibilities including the Alabama National Fair Board and the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery.

Garrett Coliseum was built in 1951 and its inaugural event was a concert by country legend Hank Williams, Sr. It encompasses 31,000 square feet, seating for nearly 14,000 and several barns and an outdoor arena.

INFORMATION SOURCE: Alabama Dept. of Agriculture

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