Right now, consultants are conducting a feasibility study on the project, working on what options the city has across the board on making such an expansion possible.
Mayor Jamie Mayo says lately there have been capacity issues with the Civic Center, such as the recent circus and basketball championship games being quickly sold out so quickly that people were being turned away. The mayor says productions that do come to Monroe face challenges in turning people away when events sell out.
"For the large ones, it's a numbers game," said John Ross, Community Affairs director for Monroe. "They're looking at the number of people they can bring to their event."
Mayo says the city is also missing out on some larger performances because of the challenges.
"Although we're able to accomodate 400 events throughout the year, we're still losing out on the larger events," said Mayo.
Mayor Mayo says the city is competing with bigger venues in cities like Little Rock, Jackson, and Bossier City, even Dallas. Recently, Alexandria renovated the Rapides Coliseum to hold 10,000 people, adding to the competition.
"It's critical for Monroe to stay competitive," Mayo said. "We don't want to get left behind."
The Monroe Civic Center was built during the 1960s and was host to large performances from big names like Elvis Presley and the Jackson 5. However, city officials say over time, the crowds have grown. Currently, the Monroe Civic Center has a maximum capacity of about 6,000.
"We're kind of in the middle of everything, so it behooves us to do what we can to increase capacity," Mayo said. "That's why the feasibility study will look to see what the community would support."
City officials say they're hoping for the venue to hold at least 10,000 people but have a maximum capacity of 14,000 or 15,000 people.
When it comes to funding, Mayo said the city will address the Civic Center the same way as the airport -- looking to a finance group to help the city come up with options. Mayo says having a bigger capacity arena will help in housing evacuees, which is an area of funding the city can try to apply for.
The results in the current study will help plan the next steps in expanding the Civic Center.