Council Report: Cowtown Coliseum agreement amended

Cowtown Coliseum


The Fort Worth City Council addressed the future of Cowtown Coliseum and the legendary rodeo it has hosted for many years at its Tuesday meeting, voting to amend the city’s license agreement with Rodeo Plaza, Inc. (RPI) for the management and operation of the historic Coliseum.

However, nothing was made clear about what lies ahead for the building that is well over a century old or its popular event that is held each Friday and Saturday night all year long since 1986, the Stockyards Championship Rodeo.

Donald Jury, one of seven co-owners of Rodeo Plaza, which has managed the Coliseum for over four decades, said he’s ready to retire and believes the new managers, Fort Worth Heritage Development Company (HDC) can do a better job going forward. However, he pleaded with the council to be sure and protect the rodeo. The Coliseum is the home of the first ever indoor rodeo.

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“It took 20 years to get the rodeo where it was profitable, and one of the reasons it is profitable is it’s dependable, every Friday and Saturday night,” Jury said. “I’ve been told the Coliseum has the same historical status as the Alamo…so remember the Alamo.”

HDC has also made a significant investment is also being in the redevelopment of the Mule Barns and a new four-star hotel.

The amendment approved Tuesday includes:

*The primary term of the agreement be modified to 15 years with a five-year option to renew.

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*The city will no longer be required to provide an annual subsidy, which has been $185,000.

*Heritage will pay to the city, in arrears, an annual payment equal to 20% of the net profits generated from the operation of the Coliseum.

*Heritage will make capital improvements to the Coliseum, upon approval by the city, and the city will participate on a 50/50 partnership basis by utilizing net profits as the city contribution. Heritage will provide the financing for the improvement.

*Heritage will submit an annual business, program and marketing plan for approval by the City.

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Andra Beatty, a board member of the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, which is located in the Coliseum, requested a postponement of the vote, asking the council to hold a public meeting to answer some questions. She wondered aloud about the future of the Hall of Fame, along with other things connected to the Coliseum, including those who work there.

“Everyone who works there is so passionate and does such incredible work. I hope they get to stay,” she said.

“Preserve the western heritage at the Coliseum. This is Cowtown for a reason,” Cowtown Coliseum General manager Jim Lanier said.

District 2 Councilman Carlos Flores, in whose district the Coliseum lies, said he and his father used to bring cattle into the Stockyards. He also assured those concerned that discussions about the future of the Coliseum and everything connected to it have been going on for years.

“I get it,” he said.

Flores also stressed a provision to keep the western theme at the Coliseum.

“That is direct from the current agreement,” he said.