Ford Park

Commissioner Everett “Bo” Alfred

Jefferson County Commissioners, in a 3-2 split vote, decided to go with a new management firm to breathe life – and revenue – into the multi-million-dollar publicly subsidized Ford Park Entertainment Complex, but that contract offer is in jeopardy as new questions arise and deadlines near.

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Ford Pavilion

Roughly two million Jefferson County tax dollars are annually allotted to support the initiatives of the Ford Park Entertainment Complex, but that isn’t the only public funding used to subsidize the privately run county venue. According to information from the county, Ford Park also receives the lion’s share of Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) funds as well.

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Tom McDonnell with Spectra and Doug Thornton of SMG

“We’ve got to be more aggressive… to bring events in, and looking at new ways of generating that business,” SMG executive vice president Doug Thornton told Jefferson County Commissioners this week, explaining what the SMG management team would do differently if given yet another five years to oversee events at the publicly subsidized Ford Park Entertainment Complex, where it has been in charge for nearly 15 years operating at a roughly $2 million-a-year deficit.

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Ford Arena

If Jefferson County departments budget requests are fully funded this year, according to County Auditor Patrick Swain, the county is looking at a $4 million shortfall. Among the requests for increased funding are various capital improvement projects throughout the county, increases to cover healthcare premiums, and more than a half-million dollars in requested additions for the SMG-managed and county-owned Ford Park Entertainment Complex, which already loses more than $2 million annually.

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If Jefferson County departments budget requests are fully funded this year, according to County Auditor Patrick Swain, the county is looking at a $4 million shortfall. Among the requests for increased funding are various capital improvement projects throughout the county, increases to cover healthcare premiums, and more than a half-million dollars in requested additions for the SMG-managed and county-owned Ford Park Entertainment Complex, which already loses more than $2 million annually.

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The nearly 15-year monopoly SMG has had in running Jefferson County’s Ford Park Entertainment Complex is now threatened as another company has made a move to acquire the rights to spearhead the county-subsidized venue.

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Ford Park
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Fourteen years later, Ford Park is still losing millions. Canceled shows and low participation in the events that do take place don’t help, but as shown in Jefferson County documentation of the publicly subsidized entertainment complex, neither do the six-figure salaries paid to employees that have yet to bring the project up to par.

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courtesy photo

Registration opened Tuesday, March 29, for the ninth annual Christus LiveWell Women’s Conference. The theme of this year’s conference is “Living Well,” which is all about encouraging women to take charge of their lives and health to create balance and happiness in their lives.

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Funnel cakes, turkey legs, alligator-on-a-stick. Have some pork kabobs, donut burgers, candy apples, popcorn and a plethora of fried snacks. Just about anything you can think of to eat is available from more than 75 food vendors at the 73rd annual South Texas State Fair on the grounds of Ford Park, which begins Thursday, March 24, with the 11-day festival of fun ending Sunday, April 3.

Gates will open at 6 p.m. next Thursday and there is literally something for everyone. Some come for the food. Some come for the games, carnival rides, exhibits, live music and the rodeo.

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The Woodstock Music and Art Fair that took place Aug. 15-18, 1969, helped change music forever. More than 400,000 people flocked to a dairy farm in New York to see performances by Janis Joplin, Carlos Santana, Creedence Clear Water Revival, The Band, Joe Cocker, The Who, and who can forget Jimi Hendrix’s iconic rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner”?

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