Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Discussion on future of the Hirsch Coliseum to be held Wednesday, Sept. 7

by BIZ Magazine

A discussion about the future of Hirsch Coliseum and the Fairgrounds will be held Sept. 7 at 5:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

News about improvements to the historic Hirsch will be revealed, and public input on possible future improvements to the State Fairgrounds is being sought. The first 100 attendees will be able to ice skate for free and each person who attends will get a free hot dog and drink, compliments of Shreveport Mudbugs. Sweetport Ice Cream and iArchitecture will be adding a sweet treat, a free scoop of ice cream, the State Fair will give out free fair tickets. There will be a variety of door prizes awarded to those who have registered. 

A press release from the State Fair of Louisiana with more background follows below:

For 116 years, The State Fair of Louisiana has played an outsized role in our community, providing jobs, tax revenue, both monetary and learning opportunities for young people through focus on agriculture and ranching, entertainment, and partnerships in a variety of non-fair events from the Independence Bowl to the Juneteenth Parade and Hispanic Heritage Festivals. The State Fair is diligent in its efforts to engage and welcome our diverse population and to continue to engage and delight all who come through our gates. 

Over the years, the nonprofit State Fair of Louisiana has worked hard to not only continue the State Fair, but to maintain and improve the State Fair Grounds, which is owned by our close municipal partner, the City of Shreveport. The grounds are roughly 157 acres of property in the inner city with thousands of feet of surface parking lots and streets installed decades ago, old infrastructure, and a variety of ‘historic’ buildings and barns, all more than 50 years old. 

The jewel in the crown of the State Fairgrounds is the Hirsch Coliseum, a part of the Shreveport landscape since 1954 (68 years). Designed by famous architect Edward F. Neild, it is the spot where the words ‘Elvis has left the building’ were first said. Now home to the champion Shreveport Mudbugs hockey team, the Hirsch is still operating with the same two boilers and single chiller installed when the building was constructed. The humidity and temperature inside create its own weather system, and interior ‘rain’ is common. 

In 2018, the State Fair of Louisiana requested $3.7m in Capital Outlay for repairs and maintenance on the Hirsch Coliseum. With support letters from State Representative Sam Jenkins, State Senator Greg Tarver and with the support and ongoing efforts of Rep. Cedric Glover, the money was earmarked. Though not in his legislative district, Glover has long been an advocate for the fairgrounds, believing its health affects our entire region. 

The current design phase is what the state needs to release more of the promised capital outlay so that repairs can begin in earnest. It also gives Rep. Glover and our elected officials, the State Fair of Louisiana, the Shreveport Mudbugs and various partners the chance to hear from neighbors, users, and other interested parties. 

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