Proposed $35 million civic arena on Clayton 2015 SPLOST wishlist

Clayton County leaders will be asked next week to consider building a $35 million civic arena.

That’s one possible project that could be paid for with money raised from a new special purpose local option sales tax or SPLOST. The county is in the middle of compiling a list of capital projects over the next decade that would be funded beginning in 2015.

The proposed arena, which would host sports events, graduations and concerts and would rival the Gwinnett Arena, would help the county draw more business and boost its image. At least that is the thinking of the citizens committee tasked with suggesting projects for the county’s final project list. That list would then need voter approval in May. The committee will make its recommendations to county commissioners on Tuesday night.

But one former county official said Thursday the county can’t afford to take on more building projects when it hasn’t completed many of the projects from two previous SPLOST programs. The county has yet to be given a full accounting for projects created in the 2004 and 2009 SPLOST programs, according to Robbie Moore, a Jonesboro resident who served on the county commission in the mid-1990s.

“Before I’d ask people to spend more money on more projects, I’d would show them what we’ve done with their previous money,” Moore said. “And I would only be willing to ask them to spend money on projects that would bring jobs to our community. Not pie-in-the sky dreams.”

The commission meets on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the administration complex, 112 Smith St. in Jonesboro.