Mayor John Warford called a news conference March 20, fortifying the City’s position to move the Civic Center Exhibit Hall expansion project forward. The Mayor and Commissioner Parrell Grossman, accompanied by representatives of the Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau, Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce, and the Bismarck-Mandan Development Association, all in support of the City Commission’s decision to move forward on a $27 million expansion of the Exhibit Hall.
On March 12, 2013, the Bismarck City Commission took decisive action to move the Civic Center Exhibit Hall expansion project forward. “The Commission acted responsibly and within its authority when it voted to expand the Exhibit Hall,” said Mayor Warford. “We sought out opinions from residents and businesses. We consulted with subject matter experts and conducted feasibility studies about the best ways to enhance the Civic Center,” said the Mayor. “We paid attention to the vote and didn’t support increased taxes and made adjustments to the project. We did what we felt was in the best interest of the citizens by taking action to balance both current and future needs while utilizing existing hospitality tax revenues for the best economic investment without new additional taxes.”
We listened to the citizens and read the e-mails, on-line comments, and public input forms. The results from this public input indicate that sixty-percent of the respondents support the Exhibit Hall expansion project. Forty-percent expressed their support of the concept for a new Event Center.
We wish Dr. Knutson well in his endeavor and congratulate him on his forward thinking. The new Event Center discussion has not ended. It has only begun.
The City Commission supports putting together a Task Force to do a feasibility study of a new Event Center. We want the Task Force to flesh out the details and to answer questions about exactly what a new Event Center would cost. Once we have this information, and the questions can be answered, we hope to bring the proposal to the citizens for a vote. We have a bold vision – an Exhibit Hall expansion to preserve our current business and existing investment, and a Task Force to look to the future.
Meanwhile, we are moving forward to keep Bismarck an exciting locale for conventions that continue to build upon our economic success. It’s time for us to come together and to make this bold vision a reality.