Conference center proposals near ‘finish line’

The Jefferson City Council anticipates making a final decision on two conference center proposals next month.

Interim City Administrator Drew Hilpert said the latest timeline for the proposed conference center would have the council making a final decision at its Nov. 18 meeting.

The council will meet in closed session twice next week, for meetings with the two developers, the Jefferson City-based Farmer Development and the Hannibal-based Ehrhardt Hospitality Group. After those meetings, Hilpert said the developers would have until Nov. 7 to submit their final and best proposals for a conference center in Jefferson City.

Hilpert said the proposals then would be posted on the city’s website for the public to view.

After the proposals have been submitted, the city will hold two public hearings: one at noon Nov. 12 and another at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 14. Comments at both meetings will be limited to five minutes per person, with the Nov. 12 public hearing having no overall time limit and the Nov. 14 public hearing having a one-hour time limit.

Neither public hearing has been limited in terms of topics concerning the conference center. Anyone wishing to speak at the hearings must sign up in advance by contacting the city clerk at 634-6311. Both hearings will be broadcast on JCTV.

The city’s facilitator, Charles Johnson with Johnson Consulting, then will give the council his professional opinion about which proposal to select, with the council making a final decision Nov. 18, Hilpert said.

“It’s been a long process for everybody involved,” Hilpert said. “We’ve got two people on the dance floor. We’ve got to finally pick one or send them both home.”


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