The Idaho Falls Events Center now has a name – and a major sponsor
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IDAHO FALLS — The Idaho Falls Auditorium District announced Tuesday that the new event center will be called the Mountain America Center.
District officials said Mountain America Credit Union has purchased the primary naming rights to the center during a news conference at the Waterfront at Snake River Landing.
“We’re so excited to be a part of this great facility,” Mountain America Credit Union CEO Sterling Nielsen said. “We’re excited to see the doors open in a short period of time. We will be able to host (free) quarterly financial education seminars and we’ll be able to train the community to better their financial lives.”
Nielsen tells EastIdahoNews.com they heard about this opportunity a few months ago. Since then he became interested in jumping on board due to the lasting impactfulness the center will have on the community. The finalization of the naming rights took place Tuesday.
“We were looking for ways to make a big difference in the community and what better way than the gathering place where everyone comes to enjoy sporting events to enjoy concerts,” Nielsen says. “It’s just a place where the community can gather and we want to be a part of it. It also gives us a place where we could offer financial education seminars.”
The events center, located in Snake River Landing, will host concerts, meetings, a minor league hockey team and more.
Idaho’s Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, Idaho Falls Auditorium District chairwoman Terri Gazdik and Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper also spoke at the announcement.
“It means increased entertainment for the region. It means increased commerce for local businesses,” Casper said. “It means increased job opportunities. It means we will have an anchor in this part of town to attract other businesses.”
Approval for the Idaho Falls Auditorium District took place in 2011. Since then the district has raised $12 million between donations and funds from local hotel bed tax. The district has had several directors. Rob Spear was appointed this April. His predecessors include Chip Scott, Cindy Ozaki, and Dave Lane.
A construction date on the facility was not announced but Spear says the project is moving forward.
“This is a great first step but we need more dream fulfillers to come to the table. We have tremendous opportunities for businesses to be recognized in this facility,” Rob Spear said. “We’re not going to talk about if it’s going to happen. We’re going to talk about when it’s going to happen.”
Spear told EastIdahoNews.com that the construction date will come once an additional $6.5 million in the Auditorium District’s fundraising goal is secured.
The total cost of the project is $62 million, a far cry from the $35 million projected back in 2015. Once the $6.5 million is raised it will allow the Auditorium District to enter into a long-term debt financing plan, utilizing resources that will come from the transient revenue tax of the future, Spear said.
“That will then determine when we can break ground,” Spear says.
Spear says receiving the generous gift of $4.5 million from Mountain America has given the project needed momentum.
“There is a real sense of urgency now, what we’ve been waiting for is this dream fulfiller, and Mountain America was that dream fulfiller today to get this thing started and provide the momentum needed,” Spear says.