Venue talks

3/30/2014

Local groups should embrace convention center discussion.

Local groups should embrace convention center discussion.

Along with handling policy-related issues, a governing body also has to have a vision.

On Tuesday, the Garden City Commission will contribute to as much in a discussion on goals. The talks also are intended to aid in preparation of the city's next budget, and give city staff direction regarding research required for various ventures.

During a recent retreat, city commissioners touched on goals ranging from the obvious — more housing — to an intriguing idea in studying the feasibility of a convention center/entertainment facility, which was ranked a high priority during last year's city commission retreat.

The community has several good venues for events, but lacks a sizable convention center required for bigger gatherings. Existing facilities such as the county fairgrounds offer a nice fit for a good number of events year-round, but lack the flexibility some event organizers require.

Discussion of such a facility is timely in a community enjoying retail growth, as added opportunities for shopping, dining and entertainment make the community more of a destination. A modern convention center and indoor entertainment facility would help draw still more events and visitors.

While it's a matter of interest for city commissioners, any future discussion of possible pursuit of a convention center wouldn't be complete without officials from Finney County and Holcomb. The topic makes sense for future joint meetings of the governing bodies.

The Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau and others who work to bring folks and businesses to town also would have vital input. For example, as part of any plan to look at a convention center, the public should know more about prospects for events the community missed out on because existing venues weren't sufficient.

The notion of a convention center no doubt would be dismissed by some as a luxury and unnecessary. But just as it's essential to know the potential expense of such a bold venture — and how it might be funded — it's also important to consider how the investment could pay off in boosting local quality of life, and making the community more of a destination.

More public discussion would help bring the possibilities into focus.

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