Despite being pulled from this November’s projected bond proposal, a multi-purpose facility remains a top goal of Precinct 1 County Commissioner Vincent Morales.
With a bond proposal filled with projects for new and renovated facilities, flood mitigation and mobility issues that have swelled the proposal to $233 million, Morales decided to defer the facility, saying that there are more important projects that the county has to get done.
In an interview on Tuesday, Morales said that the bond proposal was getting too high, and wanted to wait until possibly next year to seek funds for the multi-purpose facility.
“The bond just kept growing,” he said. “I mean, the flood mitigation is important, (Precinct 4 Commissioner) Ken (DeMerchant) needs a new building, and there are some EMS stations that are not in good working and living conditions.
“But it’s best to not keep adding things to (the bond package). I could have stomped my feet, but this bond is getting too big for me as a voter to swallow.”
A study conducted by Conventions, Sports and Leisure International last year found that a multi-purpose facility was needed in the center of Fort Bend County, and not just as a place to hold trade shows and amateur sporting events.
The facility would also be used as an emergency shelter for hurricanes and other natural disasters, researchers suggested.
The study also recommended that the facility be located close to the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds so it can provide more room for events during the Fort Bend County Fair.
Preliminary renditions of the facility show a 25-acre site slightly west of the fairgrounds, with a 103,000 square-foot building with a parking lot that can hold 2,600 cars.
The facility would have over 60,000 square feet of activity area and almost 8,000 square feet of a lobby area. It could hold four basketball/volleyball courts and have rollaway bleachers for sporting events. It would also be used for high school graduations.
While the study shows that the facility does address a need for trade shows, conventions and amateur/high school sports in the area, its use as an emergency shelter is an important one, Morales noted.
“The fairgrounds are also the highest point in Fort Bend County,” he said. “And there are a lack of emergency shelters in the area.”
Morales is hoping to add the multi-purpose facility to a mobility bond next year.