WATCH: San Angelo Needs a New Coliseum, Not Another Patch Job on the Old One


OPINION – The recent GOP Primary campaign for Tom Green County Judge revealed many issues facing Tom Green County and the City of San Angelo.

One major issue which was quietly discussed among donors and supporters of some of the candidates was a plan to use $24 million in Tom Green County taxpayer funding to upgrade the San Angelo Coliseum by adding luxury boxes to the aging facility.  

As it stands now, that is illegal.  

To be clear, the San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo Association is not doing anything illegal.  It is perfectly legal for the City of San Angelo and the San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo Association to spend money to improve the San Angelo Coliseum.  

By state law, Tom Green County cannot use property taxes on a facility not owned by the County.  The City of San Angelo built the Coliseum in the 1950s and still owns and maintains it.  The San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo Association contracts with the city to use and maintain those facilities.  

Tom Green County has no role in the funding, maintenance or operation of the city owned San Angelo Coliseum.  

My commentary on the video below came during San Angelo LIVE! election night coverage following the March 1, 2022 Primary: 

I love the San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo.  I remember as a small child going to the carnival, fairgrounds and rodeo in the early 1970s and I have been an avid fan ever since the first time I experienced that.  

I support the SAN ANGELO STOCK Show & Rodeo 100% and I want to see it grow and continue the 90 years of our traditions for generations to come.  The San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo Association has earned the right to ask residents and taxpayers for a new, larger facility.

That decision should not be left to a select few unelected officials meeting in a backroom out of the view of the taxpayers whose millions of dollars they are planning to spend.   

The San Angelo Rodeo has outgrown the 5,260 seat coliseum which has been remodeled and upgraded several times.  

San Angelo needs a new coliseum with twice as many seats as the current coliseum and not another $24 million patch to the aging facility which doesn't have enough seats to allow the rodeo to expand the way it needs to.  

A new coliseum with seating of 10,000 to 15,000 would also allow promoters to bring in major artists and shows for multi-day runs enhancing economic development.  

A new coliseum for San Angelo should be part of a larger project to include a hotel and convention center near a major highway.  That is for officials with the City of San Angelo, the COSA Economic Development Board and the Chamber of Commerce to plan and develop.  

Not the Tom Green County Judge and Commissioners Court.  

Tom Green County has no business participating in any project like that when the county cannot currently pay jailers, secretaries, road & bridge workers, librarians, etc. more than $17 per hour.  

The talk around town was that the plan included building luxury boxes for the coliseum expanding the venue with a limited number of luxury seats.  

Any plan to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on the San Angelo Coliseum should including expanding seating for everyone; for all of the thousands of taxpayers who can afford regular seats to watch the rodeo performances for decades to come.  

Have a different opinion about the San Angelo Coliseum or the San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo?  Send it to [email protected].  

Editors note: This Opinion letter was clarified to include the paragraph stating that the San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo Association is doing nothing illegal.  

What would be illegal is for Tom Green County to spend taxpayer dollars on a facility the County does not own or operate.  As it stands now, there is no Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or any legal way the County can fund improvements to the City owned Coliseum.  

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Another classic example of government mismanagement of taxpayer funds, if approved of course. They'll spend 24 million on some yeehaw boxes for a ONE time yearly event but won't repair our streets. What in the exact fuck are the people who spend our taxpayer dollars actually thinking. FIX OUR ROADS ya damn hayseeds!

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