Posted: Jan 23, 2012 3:34 PM by Dennis Bragg (KPAX News)
Updated: Jan 24, 2012 10:59 AM
MISSOULA- The Missoula County Fair board has been told that a "multi-events" center would not only serve the community, but could boost the economy by millions of dollars.
This time of the year the fair is more about snow than snowcones, but the fair advisory board is hard at work sifting through the most recent ideas for using the land here. Up Monday the concept of using it for a multi-events center."
The proposal to develop an "events center" was analyzed in a study first commissioned more than two years ago and on Monday morning the Missoula Events Center group presented the findings of that study, with the idea that the fairgrounds could be a good location for the $25-million project.
During a conference call with the consultant, the fair board was told how the 5,000 seat center could be used for shows, exhibitions and concerts, and even configured for special events like ice hockey, rodeo and other sports.
The study estimated the center could draw 100 events per year, drawing up to 250,000 people. And although it might lose money directly, Missoula Chamber Chief Executive officer Kim Latrielle says it could generate $24 million a year in economic impacts.
"Wherever we place this events center, we believe there's going to be substantial economic development around that facility and around that area of town."
Fair board members didn't discount the idea, but some wondered about squeezing the center onto the 40 acre site with the consultant admitting it could be a "tight fit."
The board made no decisions. Right now the advisory group is simply reviewing all of the recent ideas, pulling information together for a public meeting focused on those "next steps" in getting fairgrounds planning off dead center.