VANDALIA — The Montgomery County Agricultural Society presented its vision to create an Event Center and Fairgrounds to the Vandalia City Council Thursday night.
Greg Wallace, the Society’s Executive Director/Project Manager, told the council that the Society wants to build “more than a Fairgrounds.”
“We want to build a $12 million facility,” said Wallace.
That would include an event center that could be used year-round to host small conventions and trade shows as well as a campground.
The Society first approached Vandalia about the site on Webster street in December. At that time, council members directed City Manager Jon Crusey to inform the fair board that the city had no interest in the project citing the lack of tax revenue and anticipated costs for fire, police, and other city services.
No formal vote was taken at the time, but the direction from council was clear – and unanimous. What is not clear if Thursday’s presentation changed any minds.
Wallace told council that the Society would consider revenue sharing of 1.5 – 2.5 percent of gross revenue with the city to offset those costs. He said that the board recognizes that with only four employees and being property tax-exempt, some see the fairgrounds as “bringing nothing to the community.”
“This is not necessarily a reconsideration but knowing that you had not provided us with a presentation and other facts we are giving you the opportunity to make that presentation,” Mayor Arlene Setzer said prior to the presentation.
In order for the project to move forward, council would need to approve a zoning change. No formal application for a zoning change has been made at this time.
Mayor Setzer said on Friday morning that no timetable has been set for further council discussion on the possible relocation of the fairgrounds.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.
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