Enid events center opens despite controversy

ENID, Okla. – An $18-million controversy continues in Enid.

Wednesday morning the city opened the doors on a new event center, despite a large majority who opposed the project from the beginning.

Voters initially denied the bond for an event center but the city managed to build it anyway with funds they already had.

City officials said it will bring in big events and more money to help the city but some voters said they still feel the money could have been better spent.

It’s taken only nine months to build the 74,000-square foot facility.

The building will be used for concerts, conferences and high school basketball and volleyball games.

Project supporter Kathleen Cossim said, “This is just amazing! It would give me a chill to know what this looked like just a year ago.”

While some in the community support the project others said they wish the money would have been spent on other things.

Jewell Barwick said, “It’s nice, it really is. I understand we need places for concerts to bring in revenue but we could have used it to upgrade Enid city-wide instead of just one part of Enid.”

City officials said voters actually denied a $40-million bond which would have built a more plush facility.

The town already had $20-million to build a basic facility, which is what they did.

It’s already drawing business to this community.

Those who were initially opposed to the event center said they just hope it lives up to the hype.

Barwick said, “It probably will bring in some business. I’m not sure. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

The event center is just part of a bigger project in downtown Enid.

The city just recently finished renovating the convention hall next door to the event center.

They are also hoping to soon see construction on a new hotel in that same area.