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City Council Calls for Election



“Our people are paying for the facilities to host these events but not getting the benefits from the dollars being spent on tourism. Our goal is to help the city retain these tourism dollars. The Family Entertainment Center should go a long way to correcting that situation. It will be a win-win for our citizens to enjoy and capture the tourism dollars at the same time,” Mayor, Jeff Griffin stated.


The 2022-23 Seminole Youth City Council attended the Seminole City Council meeting Tuesday evening to hear about funding for their project, a Family Entertainment Center.


(Watch November's City Council here.)


In May 2020, the first City of Seminole Youth Council proposed the idea of a Family Entertainment Center in Seminole. The presentation featured a “hang out” spot with laser tag, an arcade center, a bowling alley, and a restaurant.


(Watch May 2020's presentation here.)


“We need a place to hang out and a Family Entertainment Center is our solution,” said Maya Carter, Seminole Youth Council 2019-20 member.


The Mayor and City Council prioritized this project and tasked the staff continue working with Youth Council to design something special. In November of 2021, The Seminole Community Foundation, a private non-profit foundation, paid for an experienced architectural firm to design a facility for Seminole.


“After months of design modifications, they have arrived at something we believe is right for us. It is large enough to create a destination event for surrounding communities and tourists, yet efficient enough for us to afford,” said, Briana Wymore, Youth City Council Advisor.


Seminole Mayor Jeff Griffin said “Clearly, the Youth Council did a fantastic job of describing the problem and making a plan. The staff’s job was to find a way to fund it without raising taxes or taking away from critical services.”


After that first presentation, several City Council members spoke to Youth Council. “You are to be congratulated on the work you have done,” said Councilman Tim Poplin. “Now it’s our turn to get this project funded.”


“This is a great idea,” said Councilman Larry Church. “We’ll find a way to fund it.”


On Tuesday, City Council called for an election to EXTEND an existing 1 cent sales tax to build the new facility across from the new high school.


Ground was broken recently on a new retail establishment and housing across from the new high school. The property owner, RCL Development, has agreed to trade a sewer line extension for 5 acres of highway accessible prime commercial space for the Family Entertainment Center construction.


If the voters approve the 1 cent tax extension, it will stay in place with the same purposes as before, but will add the Family Entertainment Center as the focus. The proposed sales tax extension would allow for the Center’s construction and with any remaining funds other expenditures improvements could be made to parks (Boomtown Playground or swimming pool), water, wastewater, streets, senior center, downtown renovation, and ambulances. The ballot will also allow for the retirement of the remaining small debt that the current sales tax has pledged against it.


As recommended by the Seminole Youth City Council in 2020, the City Council is also calling to repurpose the Hotel/Motel tax which was put into place in 1996 to help generate tourism. The Hotel/Motel tax rate for overnight stays would stay in place but the funds would be directed to help pay for the Family Entertainment Center operations and tourism facilities along with key tourism events like the July 4th fireworks.


Maya Carter continued in her 2020 presentation, speaking about tourism dollars that leave Seminole.


“Seminole has dozens of events like softball, baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, debate, and academic meets to name a few,” she said. “If you talk with these visitors, you find out they are leaving Seminole for recreation and as a result they spend their tourism dollars elsewhere.


“Our people are paying for the facilities to host these events but not getting the benefits from the dollars being spent on tourism. Our goal is to help the city retain these tourism dollars. The Family Entertainment Center should go a long way to correcting that situation. It will be a win-win for our citizens to enjoy and capture the tourism dollars at the same time,” Mayor, Jeff Griffin stated.


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