Casper Conference Center Project May Still Happen

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Casper - (KCWY) Plans for a convention center and hotel to be built in Casper may not be dead like previously thought.

"I do see why they voted no," said Casper Mayor Paul Meyer.

Casper's mayor and city manager now agree with the majority of state loan and investment board members, who voted no on a three million dollar grant and two million dollar loan they voted down two weeks ago.

"I think the SLIB board members generally misunderstood the project," said Casper City Manager John Patterson.

The project which Patterson says was focused too much on a possible future conference center and hotel, and not on infrastructure.

"It was an infrastructure project public dollars on public property, that’s it," said Patterson.

Wyoming State Treasurer Mark Gordon was one of four state elected officials who voted no, Governor Mead casting the only vote in favor of the funding.

"My particular concern was as I understood it, it should have been a vote on infrastructure and we kind of got lost talking about a new hotel," said Gordon.

To clear up confusion Gordon visited the proposed infrastructure site this past week. He says he wants to make sure if a hotel and conference center is built on the site in the future other area hotels will stand a chance.

"I didn't hear at that time a compelling enough answer that everyone will have a chance," said Gordon.

If approved by the SLIB board, foundation, water, sewer, and other infrastructure would be installed on the old Amoco refinery site.

"We did not put our best foot forward with the best people available, but I think we will the next time," said Mayor Meyer.
The SLIB board plan to look at funding the project again Thursday morning.

Patterson says a vote of approval is critical for the process to move forward. If the SLIB board does vote to fund the project work on the site would begin in the spring.