Your Opinion: Concerns about city's agenda

Dear Editor:

During the April 26 town hall meeting four topics were on the agenda: convention center, Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP), community center, and downtown parking. Mayor Streumph mentioned that 80 years ago the topic of building a convention center was reported in the local newspaper. Today our city leaders are trying to determine the scope of the facility to be built at a yet-to-be-determined location. The mayor also stated that the city does not have the expertise to manage such a facility and would look for someone, like the CVB, to manage the facility.

I ask if after 80 years, why has no person, corporation, or conglomeration, seen any financial upside to building a convention center? Why do our elected officials seem dead set to build one? Especially, when they do not have the expertise to manage the operation on a daily basis.

Mr. Mayor and City Council, would you please provide us, the taxpayers, with your financial projections of such an operation? I would like to see all projected costs and revenue in detail. Please, make the projections as if you were going to the local bank to seek a business loan for such an operation. In this case, we the taxpayers are the bank. Remember that some of the meetings you book may take away from the income of another local business.

Mr. Mayor, you want to spend approximately $3.4 million on the MSP — a facility the city does not own — I would rather see the money spent on repairing and upgrading our infrastructure, from streets to sidewalks to streetlights throughout the town. The city needs a community center. Build one of adequate size with the intention of adding another building or buildings as money is available and the need, not want, is warranted. I suggest that if it is to be built that it be located as close as possible to a “new” high school. That would facilitate the school in hosting tournaments and minimize required parking spaces.

One topic that was predominant at the town hall meeting that seemed taboo was looking to place a convention center and a community center outside the immediate downtown area. Parking and traffic in that area is horrendous. Jefferson City is a small town and locating these facilities in such areas as along West Edgewood, Militia Drive, Highway 179, etc. needs to be studied. Travel time from these locations to any area in town will only take minutes.

Remember, taxpayers own, operate, staff and patronize businesses throughout the city, not just downtown.

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