Garrett Coliseum gets minor makeover - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Garrett Coliseum gets minor makeover

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

It's a Montgomery staple that many say was an architectural marvel in its prime.

But over the past 60 plus years, Garrett Coliseum has experienced its fair share of aging, almost to the point of closing.

With no money in state coffers for major renovations, managers there are forced to do what they can to spruce it up so the events Alabamians know and love don't choose another venue, thus taking their tax dollars elsewhere.

"We've re-painted all the entrance ways, resurfaced the parking area, planted new sod under the trees over there. We've re-painted the walls all the way around the upper corridor, we reinvented the restrooms, we've cleaned them up pretty good and got all the grout...cleaned in the walls and the floor," says Garrett Coliseum Manager and Alabama National Fair Director, Randy Stephenson.

It may not be a multi-million dollar remodeling job, but Stephenson says right now he's doing the best he can.

"We just want people to see that there's some effort being done.  There's very little money to do it, but we got a lot of elbow grease and a lot of want-to."

Stephenson isn't about to let Garrett Coliseum fall by the wayside--especially since some of the state's largest events like the SLE Rodeo and Alabama National Fair call it home--pumping big bucks into Montgomery's bank account.

"The rodeo is probably a $4-million dollar impact on the city when it's going on, as the fair is a $6-million dollar impact on this city," says Stephenson.

A major renovation might be out of the question since money is so tight, but that doesn't mean all hope is gone for Garrett Coliseum.

"I'd love to see it all renovated, but we'll see," says Lorraine Russell.

Russell and Arlon Poole started working at Garrett years ago. Poole's been there since the 1960's--a time when the arena was the place to be.

"You're talking about 8,500 people here," says Poole.

Both say they've seen the venue change, but recent efforts to mask its old age haven't gone unnoticed by visitors.

"We had a show last week and had some comments about how well it looked," says Poole.

"Even our cosmetic things we did before the fair brought really good comments," adds Russell.

It's an indication they hope means Garrett Coliseum is here to stay--no matter how long it takes to bring the building fully up to date.

Stephenson says the paint used on the inside of the coliseum was found inside the building--left there from years ago.  He says it was one less thing managers had to pay for when it came to sprucing up the building.

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