Appleton Expo Center Plans Advance - WBAY

Appleton Expo Center Plans Advance

Appleton - The proposed exhibition center for downtown Appleton may be a step closer to becoming a reality. Outagamie County and city officials have agreed on a plan to transfer ownership of a downtown lot where the exhibition center can be built.
Tuesday morning the Outagamie County Finance Committee swiftly voted to approve the City of Appleton's deal with the county to purchase a downtown lot for $2 million where they hope to build a $28 million expo center.

"This was one very important component to come together to be able to move this whole project forward," said City of Appleton Director of Community and Economic Development Karen Harkness.  

The deal paid for by Appleton's city budget gives the city a place to build an expo center and the county 125 parking spaces along with financial satisfaction.

"Really the two big pieces were one, to be made whole with how much the county has invested in that property so far to date and the second of all to make us whole in terms of parking," said Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson. 

Now that there is an agreement in place for the sale of this property, Appleton city leaders are hopeful they can break ground on an exhibition center sometime this year.

"We're hopeful that we'll be able to get this project forward to breaking ground yet this year. It is June, so we do have 6 more months of the year left.

The Outagamie County board of supervisors and Appleton city council will now have to vote to approve the deal, so Appleton can secure the site for the proposed expo center. It's the next step in what has been an over two year process.

 "If we do this, we need to do it right. We need to follow best practices and industry standards, so that it is successful and it takes time and we've taken the time, we've done it right. It is nice to see the project moving forward in small steps," said Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Pad Seidl.

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