City of LC considers private management for Civic Center

City officials consider private management for LC Civic Center

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -The Lake Charles Civic Center is owned by the City of Lake Charles, but there’s a move to privatize the management. So far, no details have been made public, but city officials say a presentation will be held for citizens to attend. No date is set.

The Civic Center could soon be run by the company, SMG, called ASM Global since October, which manages large venues around the world including the Superdome in New Orleans and River Center in Baton Rouge.

Concert promoter Donald Thomas attended an invitation-only meeting on the proposal at City Hall. City officials say the meeting was for those who hold events at the Civic Center and provided related services.

Thomas thinks the idea has merit.

“I’m familiar with the company. I’ve worked with their venues before. I’ve seen them be successful and not successful in some cases. I think in Lake Charles it’s a unique challenge. I think the potential for it to work is possible, but we’re going to have to have cooperation and transparency from the city as well as the community,” said Thomas.

Luna restaurant owner Dave Evans, who also attended, likes the idea.

“I want us to be more like New Orleans. I want us to be more like Baton Rouge. I want us to focus on progressing to be a bigger city, a more thorough entertainment providing city,” said Evans.

Some groups are concerned locals’ rates could go up or that they could be forced to use the company’s caterer. But City Administrator John Cardone says no.

“The City of Lake Charles is still going to be in charge. All those events and rates and those type things that take place at the Civic Center will still be adjusted by the administration,” said Cardone.

Cardone says they think private management could bring more attractions and save the city money and...

“We got a great group of employees. No employees will lose their job,” said Cardone.

Cardone says the company has a good track record with a 92% satisfaction rate.

Cardone says the city is looking at a three-year contract with two one-year options to renew, but he says nothing is a done deal.

He says there would be a presentation for the public and that city council would have to approve the contract at a public meeting. So far, he says no meeting dates have been set.

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