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Your Opinion: Conference center, site concerns

Dear Editor:

How better to place the proposed questionably, ill-conceived, incomplete and, probably, inadequate conference center in proper perspective.

A “Pig in a Poke” aka “Something offered in a manner that conceals its true value or nature” (per Webster); in this case with two splinters, Mr. Schnieders’ house and another old ugly, “Art Deco” style Tergin Apartments at the corner of McCarty and Washington Streets. Why this yellow brick, less-than-50-yearold piece of real estate (built in 1962) is considered “historical” is beyond me; it would look out of place anywhere in the city as historical?

The Broadway, McCarty and Washington streets block is where an adequate conference center should be built.

Granted that the previous conference center proposal was too expensive but why was this first choice site abandoned in favor of the smaller site behind the Capitol Plaza hotel; especially since the first site is being considered for additional parking?

I say what a waste of such a valuable area that is perfect for access, both in and out of McCarty St. and the Expressway for vehicle traffic.

This block and property as far south as Ashley Street was identified as “Jefferson City Central District” in the late 19th century. I think the founding fathers realized its proximity to the Capitol and the uptown business district should make it truly a special piece of real estate in the city and not be delegated to the role of a bunch of asphalt parking lots.

Presently the block is an eyesore with two boarded-up vacant houses, the splinters and already an asphalt jungle.

Why didn’t the council go back to the original conference center designers and come up with a new design which could be expanded upon in the future and connect with a garage which also could be expanded in the future as needed.

I do not remember the City Council ever really explaining why the area behind the Capitol Plaza Hotel was picked. There can’t be enough room for an adequate center plus parking; of course, the smaller conference center as considered is perfect for the Capitol Plaza Hotel, which probably would be any conferences choice for their headquarters. The hotel could be looking forward to a possible future structural link with the close center proximity. It is apparent to me why other hotels were opposed to the new tax but not why the voters approved it with so little concrete information given to them about the proposed conference center. I didn’t vote for the tax.

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