Your column about the Mobile Civic Center closing and leaving a hole in the city’s ability to host some of its most beloved events was most interesting (“Mardi Gras leaders worry about having a party without a place,” Oct. 22, 2015). As producer of the Mobile Boat Show I have held events both there and then continually at the Mobile Convention Center since it opened.
Neither venue is ideal or big enough for our show, nor are they ideal for Mardis Gras balls and many other events. I believe the city should plan a new multi-use event center, to be located behind the current Civic Center auditorium, and build it while the current center is still in operation. The location has already proven to be the right one for our current Mardi Gras associations and parades, and its other events draw people to downtown Mobile for its shops and restaurants.
I work closely with the Mississippi Coliseum in Biloxi and a building in Mobile similar to the design of its new convention/event center would fulfill the mission of the city of Mobile to host many different kinds of events such as indoor tennis and soccer, in addition to the ability to hold several Mardis Gras balls at the same time. A big bonus would be that by adding another 150,000 to 200,000 square feet of indoor event space the MCVB could pursue more and larger conventions that could include both spaces.
A new building would also free up the existing convention center to be used for conventions during Mardi Gras, generally a prime season for the convention business. I hope you can keep the conversation going for a practical and innovative replacement for the Civic Center. Thanks.
Dan Miller, Mobile