Nichole Hannahs

Convention Center Project Abandoned

by Nichole Hannahs on May 15, 2013 at 6:31 am

The Muskingum County Convention Facilities Authority Board votes to terminate and abandon a project that would have built a cultural event center in Zanesville.

The project had been nearly seven years in the making and executive director of the MCCFA board Vicki Maple said they were in the middle of firming up financing when the board voted to end it.

The decision was made at the end of April. The cultural event center was slated to cost $11.2 million. Money donated to the project has been refunded and those that pledged money have been released of their obligations.

"The only information I have at this point is they are wishing to take the direction of the MCCFA in a new direction and what that direction is going to be right now I’m not really sure," said Executive Director of MCCFA Vicki Maple.

In January Mayor Jeff Tilton met with county commissioners to discuss the appointment of new board members to the MCCFA at that meeting Mayor went on record telling WHIZ that he wanted the board to move in a direction that included taking money from the 4 percent bed tax and using it to improve facilities like Secrest.

Maple declined to comment whether that played a role in the board’s decision to abandon the project.

"Within the first ten years we would have been looking at an economic impact of $15 million annually," explained Maple. "Another million dollars to the City of Zanesville alone during the first year with respect to construction, 183 jobs. It would have meant a lot."

As part of improving the downtown for the Convention Center the MCCFA through the City of Zanesville had applied for funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation to improve the appeal of downtown by doing work on some of the roadways. While 5th Street will see improvements this summer, a project for Shinnick slated for 2015 may be scaled back.

A meeting Monday will decide that project’s fate.

WHIZ contacted Mayor Jeff Tilton about this story and he declined to comment at this time.