Residents Discuss Future of Central Missouri Events Center

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COLUMBIA - Missouri residents joined the final public forum to discuss the future of the Central Missouri Events Center Monday night.

CMEC Task Force members are looking for a new plan to handle the uncertain future of the venue located on the Boone County Fairgrounds. More than 20 people attended the meeting.

Former Governor, Roger Wilson currently chairs the CMEC Task Force. He said the CMEC brings more visitors into Boone County and helps the economy.

"We have had some excellent suggestions. There is a strong sentiment that people don't want the Events Center on the Boone County Fairgrounds being damaged in any way. Of course, that's nobody's intent," Wilson said.

Citizens recommended both short-term and long-term improvements for this county-owned venue, including the development of a fully-accessible playground, equestrian events location, a skate park, indoor training facility, etc.

This is the last of four meetings being held to take citizen input on the future of CMEC. Three meetings were previously held simultaneously in Ashland, Hallsville and Columbia in order to have as many people attend as possible. Wilson said each one was well-attended.

"There is also great interest in the community in providing more help they can in order to make sure the event center is fully used, whether for traditional horse shows or car shows. Several people who already have shows there have shown up, and they don't want to lose the event center."

Hallsville resident Lynn Frazee said the CMEC is a terrific boon to Boone County, to Columbia and to the people in this area.

"There are so many things that could be done in that beautiful facility, to make it a good place for children to play, for families to come," Frazee said. "I think we are not using nearly enough of that facility for our people. I think we need to pull more our children out of the city and into that area for things to do."

"I would love to see the trails connected out there so people could walk, bicycle and so forth. People could ride their horses and so forth. I just think it's a wonderful facility, and it would be a terrible shame if we lost that in our County," Frazee said.

Since October 2011, TAG Events, LLC has managed the CMEC. The county pays TAG a monthly management fee, half of the utilities and fundings for capital improvements. The county receives shares of profits from events held at the venue.

TAG announced earlier this year its management will end in June 2014. Without a manager, the future of the CMEC is uncertain. Boone County will need someone to book events at CMEC along with planning the Boone County Fair.

The task force will use the public input gathered so far and make recommendations to the Boone County Commission by Dec. 3.

Wilson said he hopes to see a recommendation ready by the first or the second week of November.