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City Nominating Will Rogers for the National Register of Historic Places

Cultural District Will Rogers Art Deco National Register

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#1 John T Roberts

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 09:31 PM

Per the Will Rogers Complex Master Plan that was presented about one year ago, the City of Fort Worth has hired Architect Art Weinman to prepare and submit the nomination of the Will Rogers Memorial Auditorium, Coliseum, and Pioneer Tower to the National Register of Historic Places.  This is one step, but it still does not protect the complex from demolition.  It is more of a prestigious honor.

 

Here is the link to the article in the Fort Worth Business Press:  http://fwbusinesspre...rking-plan.aspx

 



#2 johnfwd

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 07:48 AM

This is great news.  These buildings are manifest of an era, 1930s, when a number of factors were at play.  Of course, Will Rogers was as famous a humorist and entertainer of that era as was Mark Twain in the prior century.  Amon Carter and other prominent Fort Worth leaders were instrumental in augmenting a national recognition for Fort Worth as a city of arts and culture, which included the theatrical world with the building of Casa Manana.  And the WPA of the Roosevelt administration provided some of the financing and labor for the construction of buildings such as these during the economic depression.



#3 RD Milhollin

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 09:07 AM

It is good to see an acknowledgement in black-and-white from the city of the WRC's historical and architectural significance. Given that the city is unlikely to sell the complex to a private concern in the foreseeable future I suppose the buildings are safe from the midnight demolition risk that looms over many historical or significant structures. 



#4 renamerusk

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 11:17 AM

 

Pioneer Tower is Fort Worth's iconic "Eiffel Tower".

 

 

 

It is good to see an acknowledgement in black-and-white from the city of the WRC's historical and architectural significance.....

 

[From an earlier blog]

 

WRMC is already acknowledged for being one of the ten most iconic structures in North America.  Quite an impressive group for WRMC to be a member of:

 

http://problogic.wor...merican-cities/



#5 Volare

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 03:15 PM


 

WRMC is already acknowledged for being one of the ten most iconic structures in North America. 

 

 

There are 27 photos shown in that list.

 

We gotta hurry up and get that thing designated so we can bulldoze it or turn it into a Bank!!



#6 Austin55

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 03:37 PM

How many people outside of DFW really know much about or could recognize the buildings? Maybe a top ten to architects but no way would someone from Boston recognize it. 

 

It's a wonderful building regardless! 



#7 renamerusk

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 07:29 PM

How many people outside of DFW really know much about or could recognize the buildings? Maybe a top ten to architects but no way would someone from Boston recognize it. 

 

It's a wonderful building regardless! 

 

Mention Fort Worth in the same breathe with NYC, S.F., Miami, D.C., Mexico City, San Antonio and I think it is a good day :excl:

 

Behold greatness:

 

http://www.fortworth...willrogers3.jpg



#8 mmmdan

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 06:17 AM

As someone originally from MA, but no where near Boston, I can tell you I never heard of the WRMC before I moved here.  I also don't recognize most of the buildings on that list.  Never heard of them.  However, if I were to visit those cities I'm sure they would come up in my pre-travel searches as something to check out when I got there.

 

Most people don't know anything about parts of the world they're not from.  Heck, most people don't know a lot about where they are from.  Since I decided to put down roots here, I made it a goal to learn as much about the city/area as I could.  I think it's safe to say I know more about the history of Fort Worth and what's going on in the city then most people that were born here.

 

The fact that the WRMC made the list is way more significant than how many random people you could stop in the street 2,000 miles from here and quiz them on if they know the tower.



#9 Electricron

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 01:19 PM

Keeping the Will Rodgers Complex around should allow minor league hockey back when the traditional rodeo and horse events move to the new proposed arena in the area. The old arena, with around 6,000 seats, is perfectly sized for minor league hockey and basketball. The new arena, with around 15,000 seats, is much too large for minor league sports, although better sized for a major rodeo and rock and country concerts, and other major indoor league sports. There is a need for arenas of both sizes...  



#10 Jeriat

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 07:46 AM

Keeping the Will Rodgers Complex around should allow minor league hockey back when the traditional rodeo and horse events move to the new proposed arena in the area. The old arena, with around 6,000 seats, is perfectly sized for minor league hockey and basketball. The new arena, with around 15,000 seats, is much too large for minor league sports, although better sized for a major rodeo and rock and country concerts, and other major indoor league sports. There is a need for arenas of both sizes...  

 

The new arena would be an improvment for this... and other things.

 

94forcav-sked.png


7fwPZnE.png

 

8643298391_d47584a085_b.jpg


#11 renamerusk

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 08:47 PM

Sing with me!  "Somewhere, over the west 7th bridge..."

 

CwTFoPEVEAAttL0.jpg

 

Look closely and you can see a dark Pioneer Tower.   Can someone answer the question "why is it or at least its crown not illuminated every night?"  Perhaps in the T&P way.

 

And some love for Pioneer Tower -

 

http://www.blueheron...neer-tower.html



#12 John T Roberts

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 08:50 PM

Rename, I'm not sure what your question is about the Pioneer Tower.  Please rephrase.



#13 renamerusk

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 08:59 PM

I wish that Pioneer Tower was illuminated 365 nights a year.  Against the darken skies, Pioneer Tower always catches my eye whenever it is lighted.

 

I also hope that there is money to clean the facade and the crown. 

 

http://www.fortworth...willrogers3.jpg



#14 John T Roberts

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 09:26 PM

It would be nice if it were illuminated every night.  I'm sure it is a money issue.  However, I would honestly settle for just having it illuminated when an event is being held at the center.  As it is, I think the only time that it is illuminated is during the Stock Show. 

 

On a related note, did any of you know that part of what was originally illuminated is covered up, and would take a full restoration of the tower to bring it back?  The center section of each side of the tower is currently a louver.  When the tower was originally built, it was glass block with lights behind it.



#15 renamerusk

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 11:32 AM

On a related note, did any of you know that part of what was originally illuminated is covered up, and would take a full restoration of the tower to bring it back?  The center section of each side of the tower is currently a louver.  When the tower was originally built, it was glass block with lights behind it.

 

 How beautiful and what a wonderful world that would be.



#16 Austin55

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 11:33 AM

The metal cover looks awful. Would be amazing to see it restored, especially to go with the new arena down the street.
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#17 johnfwd

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 11:48 AM

Never thought about it, but does the Pioneer Tower have an accessible interior to the window openings at the top?



#18 John T Roberts

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 11:59 AM

Unfortunately, it does not.  There is a metal stair that goes up there.  A few years ago, Brian Luenser had the opportunity to go to the top of the tower to take photographs. 

 

You would think that the city would put a small amount of that arena money into restoring the Will Rogers buildings.  Since preservation is not a high priority, I doubt that it would happen.



#19 Austin55

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 12:10 PM

Dave has also posted some photos from up there

https://www.flickr.c...dave/6191096618

#20 JBB

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 12:21 PM

It's really a shame that no one with the city thought to include money to renovate the coliseum, theater, and tower in the funding plan for the new arena. The old coliseum can still serve a great use, especially if it's given some attention.

#21 John T Roberts

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 09:08 PM

Below are the 10 Criteria for historic designation in the City of Fort Worth.  To be eligible for becoming a Historic and Cultural Landmark, the building must meet at least 3 of the criteria.  To be eligible for designation as a Highly Significant Endangered Landmark, at least 5 of the 10 must be met.  Let's look at the list to see how many of these Will Rogers Auditorium, Coliseum, and Pioneer Tower meet.

 

  1. Distinctive in character, interest or value; strongly exemplifies the cultural, economic, social, ethnic or historical heritage of the City of Fort Worth, State of Texas or the United States.
  2. An important example of a particular architectural type or specimen in the City of Fort Worth.
  3. Has been identified as the work of an important architect or master builder whose individual work has contributed to the development of the City of Fort Worth.
  4. Embodies elements of architectural design, detail, materials, or craftsmanship, which represent a significant architectural innovation.
  5. Bears an important and significant relationship to other distinctive structures, sites, or areas, either as an important collection of properties or architectural style or craftsmanship with few intrusions, or by contributing to the overall character of the area according to the plan based on architectural, historic or cultural motif.
  6. Possesses significant archeological value that has produced or is likely to produce data affecting theories of historic or prehistoric interest.
  7. Is the site of a significant historic event.
  8. Is identified with a person or persons who significantly contributed to the culture and development of the City of Fort Worth, State of Texas or the United States.
  9. Represents a resource, whether natural or man-made, which greatly contributes to the character or image of a defined neighborhood or community area.
  10. Is designated as a Recorded Texas Landmark or State Archeological Landmark, or is included on the National Register of Historic Places.


#22 John T Roberts

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 09:14 PM

It has been a few days since I posted this, so I thought I would respond.  It would be a lot of work to write a full documentation of how the Will Rogers Pioneer Tower, Auditorium, and Colisuem meet each criteria, so I thought I would post the extremely condensed version.  Here is each criteria item with the ones that it meets or doesn't meet and a short explanation of each.

 

Criteria:

 

1.  Yes, it is obvious how the Will Rogers buildings meet this one.

2.  Yes, the building is an important piece of architecture designed in the Art Deco or Moderne Style.

3.  Yes, it was designed by Wyatt C. Hedrick, whose firm designed many of Fort Worth's downtown buildings.

4.  Yes, the Art Deco Style, the mosaic tile, the composition of the building layout, the axial alignment with certain streets.  One might argue the design of the Coliseum is an architectural innovation.  It certainly is an engineering innovation.

5.  Yes, it plays an important role in the Cultural District. 

6.  No.

7.  Yes, it played a part in the Texas Centennial Celebration.

8.  Yes, Wyatt C. Hedrick and Amon Carter.

9.  Yes, one could cite its relationship to the other buildings in the Cultural District and it helps to define that district.

10. Yes, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Recorded Texas Historical Landmark.

 

This shows how highly Will Rogers ranks in meeting the City of Fort Worth's Criteria for historic designation.  It meets 9 of the 10 criteria and if you evaluated other buildings, you might find that it is the most important historic resource in the city.  I'm curious if any of the rest of you have some comments.  If you do, please post.


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#23 Austin55

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 09:18 PM

What benefits are gained with the building on the register?



#24 John T Roberts

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 09:31 PM

Austin, do you mean locally, nationally, or at the state level?

 

To more or less answer your question, if a building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places or as a Recorded Texas Historical Landmark, it is a ceremonial honor.  Listing at that level does not protect the building from demolition.  Tax credits and other financial incentives can be involved if listed at these levels.  Only a listing on the local level as a City of Fort Worth Historic and Cultural Landmark or as a City of Fort Worth Highly Significant and Endangered Landmark legally protects the building against demolition.  There are also City tax incentives available for these properties.



#25 JBB

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 10:19 AM

I don't have any particular groundbreaking comment on what you've said above, but I appreciate you sharing your knowledge of historic preservation. Fort Worth has a lot of preservation victories they can brag about, but there's still plenty of work that needs to happen.

#26 John T Roberts

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Posted 31 December 2016 - 12:23 PM

My whole point is that probably the most important historic building in the city is not protected from demolition.  For the record, Will Rogers is designated locally as Demolition Delay.  This means that the longest demolition can be delayed legally is 180 days from the time of filing the demolition permit.



#27 Brian Luenser

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 02:57 PM

I am working to get Pioneer Tower lit every night of the year.  Just crazy that it has to look unloved and abandoned.    Just cannot cost much to at least have the lights at the top burning.  (And if it does? LED.) 


www.fortworthview.com

#28 JBB

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 03:06 PM

Man, I am so on board with that. It can't be that expensive and it will do wonders for the west side at night.

#29 John T Roberts

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 03:19 PM

Brian, I think that it is great that you are doing that.  Will Rogers needs a lot of TLC.  I wish you could get it designated as a City of Fort Worth Landmark while you are at it.  I certainly have tried, with no luck, even functioning as an official City of Fort Worth Designation Committee.

 

It's also nice that you have posted on the forum again.  I'm glad to see that you are still reading threads and posts.



#30 Austin55

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 03:35 PM

https://www.change.o...tart-a-petition

#31 rriojas71

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 05:23 PM

If the top pinnacle could be lit like the Luxor in Vegas that would make it really look impressive

#32 Austin55

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 04:28 PM

An interesting permit application

 


City of Fort Worth Will Roger's Memorial Center
CHANGE OF USE TO INCLUDE RESTAURANT USE IN MIXED USE BUILDING//Interior remodel - This application is in response to hold comment on Permit Application PB17-11819: Separate permit required for change of use for Proposed Stockman's Café (Restaurant)

 

 



#33 JBB

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 09:40 PM

I'm assuming this is a remodel or rebuild of the restaurant in one of the cattle barns.  Aren't they remodeling one of the livestock barns each year?



#34 Austin55

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Posted 16 March 2018 - 05:28 PM

Another bit of interest

 

 

 

DYclI3PVoAAMu7m.jpg



#35 BlueMound

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Posted 16 March 2018 - 05:36 PM

Another bit of interest
 
 
 
DYclI3PVoAAMu7m.jpg


Great idea!

#36 John T Roberts

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Posted 16 March 2018 - 06:23 PM

I agree!



#37 Austin55

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 04:52 PM

From precouncil agenda

 

Presentation on Pioneer Tower Renovation and Public Art - Kirk Slaughter, Public Events and Martha Peters, Fort Worth Public Art

 

Excited to hear more! Hopefully the glass is brought back.



#38 John T Roberts

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 06:22 PM

Will Rogers needs a little love.



#39 Austin55

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 03:29 PM

The grates are indeed planned to be removed!

 

Edit -

 

$1.5 million budget

goal is to be done by 2019 when Dickies Arena opens

Lights inside tower to backlight the glass blocks

Also several analysis studies, structural and electrical etc



#40 Austin55

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 07:12 PM

Star Telegram article is out. Excited about this. Just one of those things you look at and think "That needs to get done" and it's happening.

http://www.star-tele...e207700654.html

#41 Fort Worthology

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 09:08 AM

I remember John and I being on the old citizen's committee for the Landmarks Commission and trying to get *anything* done for the WRMC, YEARS ago - it's both great to see steps being taken and incredible that it's taken this many years for anything to happen.



#42 Austin55

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 10:18 AM

The complex also has a new logo

 

1f7a145a-6903-465d-a7c6-afcdfee0374e.jpg

 

http://fortworthtexa...ogers-new-logo/



#43 JBB

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 10:39 AM

That's really sharp looking.  The font is not identical, but very similar to the letters above the gateway that faces Lancaster in front of the tower.



#44 John T Roberts

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 08:17 PM

Both fonts are "Art Deco"; however, the font for the new logo is a little closer to the font actually used on the buildings.  I do want to make a note that the new logo font does not exactly match the font on the buildings. 



#45 John T Roberts

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 10:52 AM

Kevin, I agree with you regarding our days on the Historic & Cultural Landmarks Commission's Designation Committee.  It's nice to see something being done with Will Rogers.  The restoration of the lighting will certainly make the public more aware of the building.  Personally, I still would like to see it designated as a City of Fort Worth Historic & Cultural Landmark.



#46 RD Milhollin

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 12:54 PM

Probably the most important thing that could be done to "protect" the WRMC from future threats of demolition would be to assure that each of the components has a dedicated and profitable use. I do appreciate that restoration work on the tower is needed and that this could help to call attention to the buildings from people passing on the street way out in front of the facade, but the tower is the least "functional" part of the complex, and probably requires the least maintenance etc. as well.

 

With the construction of the new Dickies Arena there needs to be some sort of master plan on what to do with the Will Rogers Coliseum. Presently, according to the FW Meeting and Convention Planning site, the ONLY events booked there this year are equestrian-related... Guess where they are going to be going when the new arena is completed. I'm sure that some of these shows are too small for the larger venue, but from an economic perspective there should be something else to justify the ongoing maintenance as well as badly needed upgrades to the vintage facility. Ice skating/Hockey has been mentioned elsewhere on the forum... sounds good, especially in the summer, but how much real demand is there (practice/recreational, school teams, semi-pro or pro team schedule?) and what is the cost of constantly changing over from ice to some other surface for the arena? Is it justifiable? The acoustics are pretty horrible if I remember correctly from the last time I attended an event there (years and years ago...) so music events are probably out. Is there some other use that could be developed for this fine old facility to justify a program of improvements and upgrades, and even to keep public officials non-appreciative of the facility's historic value from suggesting some other "highest and Best Use" for the city property the coliseum sits on (probably maintaining the facade and demo-ing the rest...)?

 

The Auditorium is more frequently booked but probably 90% of those events are dance recitals, which no doubt do not pay as much rent as other shows that would attract paying audiences close to or up to seating capacity (2856 seats). The equestrian in the Coliseum events attract crowds from all over who might stay in area hotels (none close to the actual venues) and thus contribute to the local economy and more directly to the WRMC through hotel taxes. This is not the case with the Auditorium shows; the shows there attract local audiences almost exclusively. Performance-wise (concerts, plays, musical shows, lectures...) WR Auditorium seating capacity lies in the upper range of other "similar" regional venues, smaller than Dallas Fair Park Music Hall (3420), but larger than Bass Hall (2042) larger than the Dallas Winspear/McDermott Opera Hall (2200), larger than the Dallas Majestic (1704), and larger than the Dallas Meyerson Symphony (2062). Is there some sort of greater income niche this space is best suited for given location and accompanying facilities? After visiting Will Rogers a few years ago along with a few other Forum members to hear Renzo Piano speak about the Kimbell Museum addition, and then attending a concert at the Music Hall in Fair Park recently (King Crimson) is was very apparent that the lobby amenities at Will Rogers are sadly deficient, and that some sort of drastic improvement would be needed to routinely host "world class" events. 

 

I'm not offering any suggestions or solutions at this point, just raising some questions that are going to be asked at some point by people who are in positions to make decisions that will affect the Will Rogers buildings. Like others on the forum, I have a historic and aesthetic appreciation for the architecture and engineering features of the buildings, and as part of my interest in seeing them preserved I am interested in seeing them used to their fullest by citizens and visitors. I just don't think that enough people are going to buy tickets for historical tours of the buildings to keep them standing.



#47 Volare

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 03:00 PM

The old arena will make an awesome Lexus Valet indoor parking garage.



#48 renamerusk

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 04:46 PM

Probably the most important thing that could be done to "protect" the WRMC from future threats of demolition would be to assure that each of the components has a dedicated and profitable use..... is was very apparent that the lobby amenities at Will Rogers are sadly deficient, and that some sort of drastic improvement would be needed to routinely host "world class" events. 

 

...I have a historic and aesthetic appreciation for the architecture and engineering features of the buildings, and as part of my interest in seeing them preserved I am interested in seeing them used to their fullest by citizens and visitors. I just don't think that enough people are going to buy tickets for historical tours of the buildings to keep them standing.

 

Is the 1936 coliseum currently a net loss to the City or has that been determined?  At $185k allowed for annual upkeep, the coliseum seems to have an excellent cost-benefit ratio.

 

Can't the coliseum continue to produce income for the City in addition to the new, state-of-the-art larger coliseum. Wont there be a continuing need to host small events, just like the need for the Convention Center that will hold both small and large events simultaneously or as needed.  Tourism' profitability and hotel business depend upon a stead stream of large and small events.

 

The WRMC will take its place nationally as multi dimensional center with the opening of the new area where as today its offerings are limited.  This year, WRMC was awarded 2018 winner of the League of Agricultural & Equine Centers.

 

http://fortworthtexa...l-Center-award/







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Cultural District, Will Rogers, Art Deco, National Register

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