Casper's Conference Center Could See Delays

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Casper -(KCWY) "The money is there it would just need to be allocated through city council,” said Casper Mayor Paul Meyer.

Funds to pay for the proposed five million dollar infrastructure project would come from money allocated about five years ago.

"That funding would be borrowed from allocated money from other projects that hasn't been spent,” said Meyer.

The majority or all of the money coming from plans to build a fine arts auditorium which was planned, but the money never was spent.

"BP had pledged five to seven million dollars towards that,” said Senator Drew Perkins.

"The proponents for different projects will look at that money and say if you’re not going to fund the performing arts center than you should fund our projects with that instead," said Casper City Councilman Keith Goodenough.

Funding for the project was denied by the state loan and investment board, but later reversed the decision.resulting in a loan of two and a half million dollars being approved, but not all local officials count on the funding to be there.

"In this case the state does not come through with the desired amount. The city council has not had a request to make up the difference at this point,” said Goodenough.

Some people have had concerns about public funds being spent to finish not only the infrastructure project, but also the future convention center which is expected to be built on the site.

"In order for this stuff to be legal and for people to understand that it's a delicate balance it's not fair to use public money to compete with existing entities, nobody wants to see that done though it does seem to happen from time to time,” said Perkins.

Mayor Paul Meyer expects the project to move forward, beginning in the spring even with current setbacks.

"It's always normal I think to have delays in any large project,” said Perkins.

City manager John Patterson says he is confident funding from the state will come through.

He doesn't expect infrastructure work to start until the summer which will also push back the completion of the conference center to spring of 2016.

Patterson says money will also be coming from the county to fund the infrastructure project.