Appleton City Council to host public meeting before expo center vote

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APPLETON (WFRV) — The Appleton expo center project–three years in the making and costing $27 million dollars–could come to a to a stand-still. 

A resolution was introduced last week to the Appleton City Council that would put a stop to the proposed exposition center.  The council will vote on the resolution at its meeting Monday night–but not until after the City of Appleton holds a question and answer forum for the community.

If Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna and other city leaders get their way, a brand new exposition center will end up being built on a lot near the Raddison Paper Valley Hotel.  But the main goal of Monday’s meeting is to clear up any misunderstandings about the proposed expo project. 

“The purpose of the meeting is to be able to get questions answered and to get rumors erased,” District 9 Alderman Peter Stueck said. 

The special meeting of the Community and Economic Development Committee will include short presentations from project stakeholders, giving the public an idea of how the project came about and where it stands now.

While Alderman Peter Stueck is a supporter of the possible Appleton Expo Center, he says there are still things that need to be done before the project can be approved.  “We need to see a management agreement, so we can vote on that, and then we need to make sure the room tax is structured in such a way that we’re comfortable with,”  he said.  “But the first thing that we’re going to be looking at is looking at the entire project and then deciding whether we are going to vote to purchase the land or not. But, there are a number of gates that we have to go through in order for this project to really come to fruition.”

One of those gates is a resolution calling for the council to stop work on the expo project. The last time the council voted to continue with the project was in November of 2013. 

“Personally, I oppose continuing with the project, and perhaps eight of my colleagues will as well,” District 13 Alderman Kyle Lobner said.  “But, I think at the very least we need to know how many people there are that don’t want this project to continue, so that we can, if it turns out to be a majority of the council, we can stop pursuing this without spending more money on it.”

Money and economic development are exactly why supporters of the expo center are in favor of continuing to work on the project.

“That’s the sort of thing that we’re looking to do–is build something that’s going to bring an economic impact to our community and that’s what the expo center is projected to do,” Stueck said.

The meeting is Monday night at 6 p.m. at the Appleton City Hall.  If you cannot make the meeting, you can email your alder-person with questions that they may then ask on your behalf.

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