Seligman weighs pros, cons of rodeo in city

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Longevity of business makes officials wary

The city of Seligman has been approached with the idea of opening a rodeo inside the city limits, which brings concerns to the council on the topic.

Brian Nichols, Seligman city clerk, said a group of individuals inquired about the idea, which has been discussed at city council meetings and planning and zoning meetings over the last couple of months.

“We asked a lot of questions, a lot of which, they didn’t have answers to,” he said. “We asked them to bring a business plan to the planning and zoning meeting in March.”

At said meeting, the individuals presented drawings of the proposed arena and some parking areas.

“[There was] no proposal or anything else, they said they had not drafted a proposal yet,” Nichols said.

The area being looked at as the possible location for the rodeo is a half wooded, half cleared area on the north side of Harp’s on Highway 37.

“The number one concern the council is looking at, is the parking availability, [or lack there of],” Nichols said. “The driveway access would be next to Harp’s.”

Nichols said one alderman did have concerns on the projected budget for the project, the concern being if a new arena is later abandoned and left to be an eyesore.

“The timeline of the project was a question asked,” Nichols said. “To which they said, they expected to open at the end of this year, into next year.”

The hours of operation were presented as 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and they did mention offering live music during the events.

“They plan to have family activities like roping and greased pigs,” Nichols said. “They could also get a license to sell alcohol on the property, but the alcohol would have to be consumed on the property, and the concern there is tailgating.”

All around, the security concerns are present in most aspects of the business.

“There are two tracks outside of town that do create a concern for law enforcement,” he said. “We asked them to bring a plan and layout [to the planning and zoning meeting in March] based on the questions and concerns from the February meeting. It is not a quick process and that would show their commitment.”

However, the individuals didn’t prepare that presentation for the March meeting, which is leaving many questions and concerns unanswered for the city council.

“The more information the board has, the better informed their decision can be on the issue,” Nichols said. “That may sway some of those decisions on the rodeo.”

The entire proposal of the possibility of a rodeo is still in the beginning stages at this time.

“But, they are exploring the opportunity,” Nichols said. “None of them have experience in this process yet, so there is a lot of discussion happening.”

Nichols said there are five to six individuals involved with the rodeo.

“The process is long,” he said. “First there has to be a majority vote with homeowners near the area, then a public hearing, followed by an approval of the planning and zoning committee before it can even be voted on by the aldermen.”

Based on the information presented at the March city council meeting, voting against the rodeo would be aldermen Gerald Harling and Bob Lovestad, and aldermen Ron Corn and Robert Hughes are undecided. Mayor Michael Avers, who would only vote in the case of a tie, is against the proposal.

Corn and Hughes said they are interested in hearing what the individuals have to say, but they do have reservations about the idea. Harling said he is more against the rodeo being inside of city limits.

The proposed size of the arena will hold 50-120 people and 40-50 animals.

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