Expo Center Agreement May Be Looming

Salina City Commissioners and Saline County Commissioners appear to be close to reaching an agreement on the future of the Saline County  Livestock & Expo Center.  The two governing bodies met in a joint meeting for about an hour on Thursday night.

At issue are the aging facilities which comprise the livestock and expo center, which is located on Kenwood Drive, across the street  from the Tony’s Pizza Events Center. The city owns the property. The county owns the facilities on the property.

The county is operating the facilities on a series of one-year leases, following the expiration of a long-term lease. County Commissioners would like a new 40-year-lease, while the city proposed a 25-year-lease which would be followed by three 5-year-leases. The two governing bodies appeared to generally accept a compromise of the possibility instead of a new 30-year-lease.

As part of the agreement the city is requesting that the county perform some maintenance and improvements on the existing properties, including buildings, barns, and the parking area.  The goal is to have the expo center facilities blend in aesthetically with the neighboring  Tony’s Pizza Events Center.

The next step is for the county commission to look at the list of requested improvements, determine a cost, and decide if they can fund it. Salina Vice Mayor Mike Hoppock estimated it would cost in the area of $1 million, noting that it is a  much lower cost than a previous proposed  plan for the area which would cost in excess of $5 million.

After the meeting Saline County Commission Chairman Bob Vidricksen told KSAL News he was encouraged, and hopeful an agreement will be reached.