Posted: May 29, 2012 7:44 PM by Scott Malone
Updated: May 29, 2012 9:46 PM
JEFFERSON CITY - City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus gave his recommendations Tuesday for two large-scale projects he says the city should move forward with. Nickolaus said the city's top priority should be an attempt to buy the land the state penitentiary sits on before conducting repairs to its historic buildings.
In a presentation to the city council, Nickolaus said the overwhelming response from town hall participants was for the city to either buy the land from the state, or to enter into a long-term lease "of 20 years or more."
He said residents listed repairing the penitentiary's historic buildings as the highest priority of four large projects the city is considering. The other three projects are the construction of a convention center, an increase in downtown parking, and building a multi-purpose structure.
Nickolaus said moving forward with the conference center was next on the city's list after the penitentiary repairs. He recommended the city should enter into a public/private partnership with a hotelier. The hotel would be responsible for building, furnishing and operating the facility, as well as " furnishing adequate kitchens, wait staff, storage, and marketing."
He said the city could contribute up to seven million dollars to help pay for the conference center. As the primary stakeholder, the hotel would receive all of the profits and absorb all losses.
Nickolaus said the city would regain its investment through lodging and sales taxes from the center.
He said Jefferson City should hold more town hall meetings to inform the public more about the proposals for a multi-purpose structure and an increase in downtown parking. The multi-purpose structure would "host special events such as sporting events, expos and concerts."