BREAKING: Pursuit of Casper’s Downtown Conference Center Plan Discontinued
UPDATE: A conference center and hotel will not be built in downtown Casper anytime in the near future.
Casper City Manager John Patterson announced that the city will discontinue the pursuit of the corner of David Street and Old Yellowstone as the site of a proposed conference center.
He says it was unworkable in terms of property acquisition and political atmosphere.
"A majority of the people who were elected to council in November (2012), simply do not see that this is an appropriate use of public funds. Some of them made it clear during their campaign, some of them campaigned against the funding of the conference center, and so they certainly had been vocal. Frankly when you have two, 5-4 votes in the first month or two of this calendar year, people who had an interest in building a conference center/hotel begin to wonder about the commitment of this city."
However, Patterson says the need for such a facility still exists, adding that a number of conference hosts have abandoned plans to hold events in Casper, because the current facilities are tired and worn.
"Now we have business people who have taken their conferences elsewhere and they hate that...that they've had to leave Casper. We have people who are attendees of conferences from all over the state, that regret having to drive to Cheyenne, having to drive to Laramie for conferences."
Patterson says the city will not close on its purchase of the Goodstein Property.
Also, the recently purchased AdBay property will be put up for sale.
ORIGINAL STORY: Officials with the City of Casper announced Thursday that they are discontinuing the pursuit of a downtown conference center.
Earlier this year, the Casper City Council narrowly approved a $315,000 purchase of property located off South David St. Another purchase of land was also recently approved by the Council, which involved a $650,000 property purchase designed to be part of the proposed $50,000,000 hotel and conference center complex.
The proposal had called for a public-private development of a $12,000,000 downtown conference center, if a hotelier could be found to construct a nearby $30,000,000 hotel. The plans had called for a $1.3 million plaza, $400,000 parking lot and various other projected tied to the complex.
At the time, officials believed the city could recoup roughly $9 million of its initial investment by selling naming rights and pursuing other revenue-generating options.