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Conference center timeline delayed

Conference center timeline delayed

August 7th, 2013 in News

The Ehrhardt Hospitality Group presents their conference center proposal to the Jefferson City Council at City Hall on June 6, 2013. Speaking is Trey Propes, of Jefferson City. Propes is a manager of a local hotel with the Ehrhardt group.

Photo by Deborah Cote

The timeline for a decision on a potential conference center in Jefferson City has been delayed again, and the City Council has approved an additional expense for a conference center market study.

In early June, two proposals were unveiled for the city's conference center project: one from Farmer Holding Company and one from the Ehrhardt Hospitality Group. Both developers proposed smaller conference centers than the City Council had requested and neither had ruled out the potential need for an operating subsidy.

In a closed session July 8, the council approved an expenditure of no more than $17,000 for a contract to create a conference center market study. Fifth Ward Councilman Larry Henry cast the sole opposing vote.

Since then, city attorney Drew Hilpert said the city's hired facilitator Charles Johnson, with Johnson Consulting, has been focusing on the market study.

In early July, City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus said the idea was to hold two public hearings on the proposals in early August and have the council make a final decision by Sept. 15, a delay from the council's initial estimate of having a decision by July 1.

But that has been delayed again.

Hilpert said at Monday's City Council meeting that the facilitator now was looking at possible public hearing dates in early to mid-September, with the council making a final decision on proposals in mid-October.

Nickolaus and Hilpert did not return calls for comment Tuesday.