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AG-Expo Center Gets County Funding

The proposed AG-Expo Center on 36 Highway gained funding from the Buchanan County Commission on Monday, one step in reaching their financial goals.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The proposed AG-Expo Center on 36 Highway gained funding from the Buchanan County Commission on Monday, a key step in reaching their financial goals.

The board of the Agri-Business Expo met with county commissioners for the second time in two weeks to discuss the funding.

The board was seeking $800,000 from the county's economic development fund.

Commissioner Dan Hausman did not vote because of his prior involvement with the Expo.

Commissioner Ron Hook was reluctant to sign for the funding initially.

"I was skeptical because of some of the information that was said early on when this project was a 30 million dollar project," Hook said. "Local tax payer money would not be applied to it and yet capital improvement money that we collect from our tax payers is now part of the economic development money that we pay out to projects like this."

Hook fully supports the new Expo Center, but wanted more protection for the county.

"The county corrected the agreement that if they don't meet certain milestones...then the county is not obligated to pay the $200,000 we are offering up today," he said.

The payment will be made yearly over a four-year period.

Agri-Business Expo CEO Sharon Cornelius said their work is ongoing in funding the project.

"This is just one more little piece of the pie as we begin to bring forth jobs and new opportunities for youth in our community," Cornelius said.

The board will now seek money from the state of Missouri.

They are seeking 5 million dollars locally and 12 million dollars total. The entire project will cost 72 million dollars.

If things go as planned, they hope to break ground on a new interchange near the site next year.
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