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Convention Center issue not dead in Jefferson City

Missouri Department of Tourism
Missouri Department of Tourism

Although two proposals for a new Jefferson City convention center were voted down at the city council meeting in early April, the issue is not completely dead.

The council took two years to decide on two distinct proposals for the convention center site, but both were rejected at the city council meeting on April 7th.

With the council's vote, no propositions were left on the table. Jefferson City mayor Eric Struemph said that the city needs to take time off from working on the issue.

"I think it's important right now for our city to take a step back and really have a little bit of healing time," he said. "It's been a very divisive part with those two locations."

Struemph said he knows citizens continue to toss out ideas for the convention center. One idea includes combining money from the city's lodging tax with Parks department money for a multi-purpose center. But he said that no formal propositions are being discussed and he looks forward to speaking with citizens at open mic town hall meetings in the coming months.

Jefferson City Convention and Visitor's Bureau Executive Director Diane Gillespie said that the rejection of the proposals did not kill the issue.

"There is a lot of discussion going on out in the public area," she said. "I think there is a group of people that are very firm in believing that Jefferson City does need a conference center since we are the state capital."

She also says the Visitor's Bureau wants the convention center to happen.

"We still believe that Jefferson City could support a conference center and would like to see one here in the future," Gillespie said.

Kyle Norris is from Michigan and spent ten years as a host and reporter with Michigan Radio, the state’s largest NPR-affiliate. He lives in Seattle and works as a producer, reporter and educator.
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