Hotel Developer Still Eyes Events Center And Downtown Conference Center Possibilities
There may be a conference center-hotel complex in Casper.
It may be downtown.
It may be near the Events Center.
Regardless, the talk about it certainly has been confusing this week.
Tuesday, a representative of a hotel development company told the Natrona County Travel and Tourism Council that groundbreaking for such a complex would be happening soon.
“We’ll definitely be throwing some dirt by March,” said Millette Desormeaux, who also is a member of the council.
Desormeaux also said JJM Group Hotels president Narendar Taneja would be meeting with Casper officials on Tuesday about the conference center-hotel complex.
She declined to comment on its location.
Last month, Taneja told the council about putting the conference center near the Events Center and the need for community support, according to the minutes of the Oct. 13 meeting. No other location was mentioned in the minutes.
Thursday, the Casper City Manager's office denied it recently had been in discussions about that.
"While the City owns all of the land surrounding the Events Center, we are not aware of any plans to locate a conference center and hotel complex in that area. There has no movement, nor any contemplated, in constructing a conference center on any City-owned property around the Events Center," according to the news release from Tanya Johnson, special projects coordinator for the city manager.
"City officials have not met with anyone this week in regards to said facility nor are there any future meetings planned," according to the news release.
Later on Thursday, however. Desormeaux said an Events Center location is still a possibility.
"The two options that we have available to us at this time at this time is, we're looking at placing it up by the Events Center so that we can utilize the Events Center as for overflow, and then we also have the alternative to give back to the community and really look at putting something into the downtown area and maximizing, you know, the access to the water," she said.
"We are leaning very heavily towards the one downtown," Desormeaux said.
She said Taneja met with incoming City Manager V.H. McDonald on Oct. 13, and may be meeting with him Friday.
A groundbreaking in March is likely, Desormeaux said. "If we keep moving in the avenues that we're going, and Mr. Taneja's moving full steam ahead, (he) is very adamant about getting this project underway."
Tuesday, Mayor Charlie Powell said after the Casper City Council meeting the city still needs a conference center, but no location or developer has been determined.
"The lion's share of the funding will be private funding, the developers will carry the day," Powell said. "The city's role actually has been very minimal in terms of the funding package."
The Natrona County Travel and Tourism Council is composed of representatives from the county, the City of Casper, and the towns of Mills, Evansville, Bar Nunn, Edgerton and Midwest. The council oversees the collection of the 4 percent lodging tax in the county, and promotes the area through its marketing arm the Casper Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.