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Look Back ... to the possibility of an equestrian event arena, 1995

19nov--vault1956

The leader of the Soviet Union in 1956 had some prescient words to offer future generations, this front-page article tells us.

Nov. 19, 1945, in The Star: The First Baptist Church, located at 14th and Pine Avenue, was lost to flames this morning during the hours after midnight. A truck driver noticing smoke coming from the church basement awakened the Rev. L. N. Claxton, pastor, who lives close by, and he called the fire department at 3:05 a.m. Within two hours the brick-veneered church, built in 1902, and its Sunday School building had been leveled. Regrettably, it seems at this point that the structure and contents were severely underinsured. The congregation’s membership numbers from 1,500 to 1,800. Also this date: C. H. Jamison president of the Anniston Chamber of Commerce, offers several reasons why the expense and effort that will go into erecting a dedicated headquarters for the local YMCA is an excellent investment by the community. The personal benefits young people derive there will eventually be good for business in the city, for the quality of employee and businessman it fosters; the physical and moral benefits to be gained from the “Y” program are unquestioned; and besides, Anniston is one of the few cities of its size in the South that has no YMCA — many smaller cities have had a “Y” for many years.

Nov. 19, 1995, in The Star: Could Anniston become home to, and support, a $2 million arena for concerts, horse shows and rodeos? If someone could get the financing for it, sure. Consultant Kenneth Morrison, who is developing the idea for the Anniston Retail and Commercial Development Co., is telling local government that the Alabama Farmers Market Authority would make the sum available at zero percent interest and the city would pay it back $100,000 a year over 20 years. Morrison says the 44,000-square-foot facility would hold 4,000 people in an arena setting and 7,000 for a concert. Where they’d put it is not clear, though; 44 acres of city-owned land next to the Woodland Park softball complex has been taken off the table by the city’s Recreation Advisory Board.

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