Nichole Hannahs

Groundbreaking Nears for Convention Center

by Nichole Hannahs on January 19, 2012 at 7:49 am

This spring or summer groundbreaking for Zanesville’s new convention and expo center could take place in downtown Zanesville, near the site of the current Welcome Center.

Before that can happen the Muskingum County Convention Facilities Authority must have the Port Authority sign over four pieces of land. The Port under then Director Jerry Nolder had signed a letter of intent to turn over the properties, but hadn’t taken formal action.

"We absolutely need those parcels and what we’re talking about is four very very small parcels," said Vicki Maple from the MCCFA. "Two of the parcels we’ve been leasing from the port for a number of years because they make up part of our current parking lot."

The parcels are only a tenth of an acre. The MCCFA is also waiting to see if they’ll be awarded a $1.6m grant from the Cultural Facilities Commission.

"It’s not about building just an event center or a convention center," explained Maple. "It’s about developing a campus wide project that’s going to serve as an economic engine here in downtown Zanesville."

Maple said if they don’t get the grant they’ll continue to seek money elsewhere for the project, which is slated to cost 11.2 million dollars.  Maple says the will seek grants, bonds and private/corporate donations and Zanesville-Muskingum County residents will not be taxes in any way to pay for the project. The center is projected to bring in 183 new jobs in the first year.

The convention center is being funded through grants, bonds and private/corporate donations.

The Port Authority said they’ll review the 2008 agreement before making a decision on the parcels.