Jefferson City Residents Divided on Conference Center Proposals
JEFFERSON CITY - Residents gathered at a public forum on Monday evening to discuss hotel-conference center proposals.
The Jefferson City Council is currently reviewing two proposals from private companies to construct a conference center. Ehrhardt Hospitality proposed to build the conference center and a parking garage downtown on 300 W. McCarty Street with additional parking at 211 W. McCarty/405 Broadway.
Farmers Holding Company wants to construct the conference center inside the Capital Mall, with the hotel to be built adjacent to the mall.
Most of the residents said they support the downtown location because it is within walking distance from the offices and close to the historic sites of the city.
"A conference centre has to be located downtown. What makes Jefferson City unique is not just a hotel called the conference center some place west of town, but it's the Capitol building, it's the Supreme Court building, it's the governor's mansion and the governor's garden, the old prison, it's all the features of downtown Jefferson City that are going to attract people to bring their meetings here," said William Steinmeier, a Jefferson City resident.
At the meeting the public also discussed the different financial plans which includes public participation requests. The city is proposing to contribute $9 million from the hotel/motel tax toward this effort.
While Steinmeier said the city council needs to be careful with not making the conference center an albatross for the city, he said the project could bring financial benefits. "It could be a great boom to our local economy if we are able to bring people in from all over the state of Missouri and the country," said Steinmeier.
But other residents were against the hotel-conference center initiative due to concerns about the possible financial burden on the city. "Where are they going to get the money? The taxes, can't keep raising taxes because people just don't have the money," said Glen Costales, a Fourth Ward candidate. As part of his election campaign Costales said he received input from 300 households on the conference center and claims nearly 91 percent were against a conference center.
Another resident told KOMU 8 News he think the proposals are not in the tax payers' interest.
At the meeting the public discussed the different financial plans which includes public participation requests. The city is proposing to contribute $9 million from the hotel/motel tax toward this effort.
The next public meeting is scheduled for April 7. You can learn more about the proposals here.