Memorial Coliseum has generated $100 million in economic impact this year with facility use up 9 percent over 2016, Randy Brown, the facility's executive vice president and general manager, said Friday.
Speaking to the Allen County commissioners, Brown said it has been a good year for the Coliseum, as attendance and facility use have increased over last year's numbers.
“If you recall last year, with the new conference center coming online, our increase was over 25 percent, “ Brown said. “We have space, we rent it.”
Brown also announced the completion of a suite renovation and security addition project, which he said came in $19,072 under budget. The suite renovations, Brown said, included new carpet, painting, wall coverings, new countertops, LED lighting and new furniture. The project also included an entirely new security wing, complete with a new command center and guest services training center.
“I would tell you that for a second-tier venue, we're a trend setter in terms of our property,” Brown said. “The security devices we have, the training, the educational experience of our team, all of those things.”
This is the Coliseum's third security command center in 10 years, Brown said, and was necessary to keep up with technological demands by various agencies including the U.S. Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the Allen County Sheriff's Department, Fort Wayne Police Department and the Fort Wayne Fire Department. The new command center will also be useful during a natural disaster or other emergency.
“The Coliseum serves as our community's major evacuation site,” Brown said. “So when we have a tire fire like we had some years ago – the Bowser Street tire fire – we housed 2,000 people for several days. A few years ago at Christmas time, we had the ice storm and we had 700 or so guests for five days. When we're called, we serve.”