Region 2000 Officials Discuss Future for Possible Lynchburg Civic Center

Lynchburg, VA - The need for a new civic center in Lynchburg has never been greater; that, the word from the Executive Director of Region 2000's Economic Development Council.

Local government leaders heard his pitch tonight at a region 2000 council meeting.

He says if all goes according to plan, Lynchburg could be looking at a new 10,000 seat arena.

Region 2000 Economic Development Director Bryan David made his pitch for continuing the push for a Hill City Civic Center.

"This is a quality of life asset for the region, undeniable" he said.

A 10,000 seat arena, equipped with a 250 room hotel, restaurant, and conference facility is being considered.

Plans are to have the center built at the site of the former Sears store at River Ridge Mall. Liberty University owns the land.

"I think everybody between Liberty University, between the local governments, between the corporate leadership in this region, everybody's committed to making a strong run to try and see if we can make this work" said David.

"I've had to drive to Roanoke, just the other night to Durham, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, just to see different acts with my family" said Liberty Chancellor, Jerry Falwell Jr.

Falwell is all in.

Liberty has committed to being a primary tenant of the potential property. Their usage of the facility is estimated at upwards of 40%.

Liberty has agreed to pay for new traffic and feasibility studies at the River Ridge site, hoping a ground breaking will be in the foreseeable future.

"As Liberty grows, the city's going to continue to grow and it's going to be even more out of place for Lynchburg to be sitting here without a civic center" said Falwell.

One aspect of the plans is an ice floor, meaning the civic center could host events like ice skating or even hockey games.

Falwell says Liberty has no desire to own the center, just pay to use it.

More months, maybe even years, of assessments are ahead.