Central Missouri Events Center Review Committee

A new day in Boone County

July 8, 2015
A new day in Boone County

Committee Members

  • Mike Alden
  • Teresa Maledy
  • James Whitt
  • Mary Anne McCollum
  • Roger Wilson
  • Dan Atwill

Central Missouri Events Center Review Committee

Factual Background

Boone County has owned 134 acres of land on US Highway 63, 3.5 miles north of the intersection of US Interstate 70 and US Highway 63, since 1999. During that time, the property has been, by agreement, managed by two separate independent operators who made the facilities available, for a fee, to individuals and organizations for a wide variety of activities.

During the years of ownership, the Boone County Commission has obtained numerous written reviews of the property from different perspectives. The list of evaluations in Appendix A contains links for access to the actual reports. The University of Missouri Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department has been of assistance in the preparation of many of the documents.

There has been no shortage of ideas about the use of the property but nothing of significance has been implemented. While finding agreement on a particular course of action may be difficult, the final barrier is always financial ability. The model that has been used was based upon the concept of not using County General Revenue until the recent pilot program. The biggest problem with that approach was that significant capital improvements needed to be made which had been deferred for years. Costs in excess of one million dollars can be listed by merely:

  • Replacing the HVAC system
  • Re roofing the main building
  • Re wiring the exterior electrical hookups
  • Remodeling the bathrooms
  • Improving parking facilities

Again, money is the big barrier. While we have an abundance of ideas, the concept always fails to start due to a lack of money. Boone County is not unique. Other venues that have built major facilities have struggled to find ways to financially support their projects. Many resort to some sort of tax: sales tax, bed tax or a tax supported bonding arrangement.

Boone County voters recently rejected a 1/8 cent sales tax for County park and recreation development by a 2 to 1 margin. Clearly there is no local interest in that form of financial support at present.

Lexington, KY, home of the Kentucky Horse Park, has implemented a bed tax that is paid by visitors to support the world-class facility they have constructed. Because of state law, such a tax here is not easily structured. It would take legislative and local voter approval for a county project.

User fees have supported the facility in the past on a day-to-day operation without maintenance or capital improvements. This does not provide the type of facility that the citizens deserve, can be proud of or that offers long-term usability.

Other avenues of development include an arrangement with the City of Columbia. This concept has been mentioned but never fully explored or developed. Further attention to this possibility should be examined.

Some suggest that the property should simply be sold. While a part of the property could be sold or leased for commercial purposes to finance improvements on the remainder, a sale of the entire property would require careful consideration of the fundamental philosophy of the County Commission when the property was purchased in 1999. The commitment that was originally made included a vision for the long term recreational use of the property as growth and development spread in the County. This has been supported by consistent population increase and migration over the last two decades. Some predict the area will be near the center of the population of the county in the future and, with current trends, that appears to be a possibility. A list of benefits and detriments should be evaluated to logically consider continued county ownership of the property.

Other considerations:

  • The City and County were given 80 acres by the Atkins family that abuts the property and is used for baseball fields (3 have been built and there is room for 3 more).
  • The entire County and all Municipalities should be kept in mind as discussions progress.
  • Public and Private Schools have an interest in local recreation.
  • The University of Missouri, Stephens College and Columbia College have an interest in local recreation.
  • The financial benefit the County and Municipalities derive from out of county visitors is important but difficult to measure. It must not be forgotten that the advantages of development are offset by increased demands placed upon our law enforcement teams, fire departments and other emergency response personnel.

The role of local business

When the 1/8 cent sales tax was proposed, support from local merchants including retailers, restaurant owners, hotel owners and others who depend upon out-of-county customers for revenue was expected. That expectation proved to be misplaced as the local business community, with very limited exceptions, took a hands-off approach and, in some instances, directly opposed the tax. In addition, since the facility has been closed, there have been no significant concerns expressed by the business community.

Location, Location, Location

  • Central County, State, Region and the Nation
  • Served by Columbia Regional Airport
  • At the intersection of two major Federal Highways. U.S. 63 to the north and south and U.S. Highway 70 to the east and west
  • 1.5 hours from St. Louis (east)
    • Major League Baseball
    • Professional Football
    • Professional Hockey
  • 1.5 hours from Kansas City (west)
    • Major League Baseball
    • Professional Football
  • .5 hours from State Capitol (Jefferson City)

Central Missouri Event Center and Atkins Park Map

Central Missouri Event Center and Atkins Park Map

It would be a challenge to find a more centrally located property in the county, state, or nation.

Central County Location

Central County Location

Central Regional Location

Central Regional Location

Central State Location

Central State Location

Central U.S. Region

Central U.S. Region

Traffic Flow

MODOT info: http://modot.org/

Traffic Flow 2013: 16,000 vehicles daily past two exits

Traffic Flow


State & County QuickFacts

Boone County Population: 170,929 (2013 US census estimate)
County Land Area: 685.41 square miles
Persons per square mile: 249.4
Households: 65,649

  • Columbia : 115,276 (2013 US census estimate)
  • Hallsville: 1,537 (2013)
  • Centralia: 4,157 (2013)
  • Harrisburg: 271 (2013)
  • Sturgeon: 897 (2013)
  • Ashland: 3,823 (2013)
  • Hartsburg: 105 (2013)
  • Pierpont: 77 (2013)
  • Rocheport: 244 (2013)
  • McBaine: 10 (2013)
  • Huntsdale: 32 (2013)
  • Non-incorporated: 44,500 (Estimate)

In Boone County

Restaurants: 915
Lodging Establishments: 42

Restaurants in the Columbia, MO area

Find restaurants in Columbia, Missouri


The primary purpose of this group is to brainstorm for the future use of the property and find creative ways to finance improvements. Past efforts to revise the original model of asset use are not a pattern for the future and should not hinder evaluation of all reasonable possibilities.

To begin the process, it is suggested the following outline be utilized to fully understand the present status of the property.

  1. Identify existing assets
    • Buildings
    • Arenas
    • Parking
    • Utilities
      • Sewer
      • Water
      • Electricity
  2. Identify County recreational needs
    • Multi-Purpose
    • Large Animal Events
    • Soccer
    • Baseball
    • Other
  3. Identify and evaluate other successful venues
  4. Compile a list of viable options
  5. Submit recommendations to the Boone County Commission

Community Input

General Public

  • Agriculture Mechanical Society
  • Horse Exhibitors
  • Cattle Exhibitors
  • Small Animal Exhibitors
  • Expo Users
  • Trade Show Users
  • Extension Users
  • Community Colleges
  • University of Missouri
  • Columbia Public Schools
  • Farmers Market
  • Sports

Municipal Representative Presentations

  • Ashland
  • Centralia
  • Columbia
  • Hallsville
  • Harrisburg
  • Hartsburg
  • Rocheport

Community Support

  • User Fees
  • Foundations
  • Sponsors
  • Naming Rights
  • Taxes

Examination of Other Successful Venues

  • Springfield, MO
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Kansas City and Overland Park, KS
  • Sedalia, MO
  • Other

Appendix A

List of Evaluations and Other Supporting Documentation

Central Missouri Event Center Review Committee Agenda

July 8, 2015

  • Welcome
  • Introductions
  • Presentation of Concept of New Model for the future
  • Tour Property
  • Amy Schneider
  • Discussion of first impressions and initial questions
  • Discussion of course of action and timing of future meetings
  • Discussion of proposed trip to Independence and Overland Park
  • Set time for next meeting