Residents Voice Opinions on Proposed Convention Center

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JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City residents voiced their opinions about a proposed convention center Thursday. 

Seven people spoke in front of Jefferson City Council members during a public hearing Thursday afternoon. 

The main topics covered during the public hearing included which location residents preferred for the center, how the center could help Jefferson City both economically and with tourism, and where the money will come from and if the city could sustain the center. 

One resident, Darryl Winegar, thinks the center would be good for Jefferson City. 

"I think a convention center will help Jefferson City with tourism, with conventions, with business expansion, with diversification, and with continually evolving the community to have more to offer for the citizens," Winegar said. 

City Council member Larry Henry said he is still undecided regarding the conference center. Henry also said he's received mixed comments from constituents. 

"I've had a little bit of both. I've had constituents say they would like to see the conference center. I've had others say they don't think one is necessary," Henry said. "I've gotten, for me, sort of a 50-50 split with that." 

Citizens Against Convention Center committee filed two notices of intent to circulate petitions with Jefferson City Wednesday. 

The committee has proposed two ordinances, the first will eliminate the 4 percent lodging tax and stop the city from using any tax or public money for the construction of a convention center. The committee said the second proposed ordinance only states that the city cannot use tax or public money for construction of a convention center, but leaves in place the 4 percent lodging tax.

Henry said he hopes to have a decision on the conference center mid-October.