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      Jefferson City entering "phase two" for new conference center

      Jefferson City is moving forward with plans to select a site for a new conference center.

      "There are a number of conventions that we have to turn away throughout the year because we just don't have a facility large enough to hold them," Michelle Gleba, communications manager for Jefferson City, said. "So this is something that is very much needed in the capital city and something we've been talking about for several decades." The city made the call for proposals in December 2012, and by the January 31 deadline they had three viable sites.

      They are:

      Ehrhardt Hospitality Group of Hannibal- adjacent to Broadway and McCarty streets.Drury Development Corporation of St. Louis- near the Missouri State Penitentiary.Farmer Holding Company of Jefferson City- near Capital Mall.

      The conference center is being funded with money from a lodging tax increase that voters approved in 2011.

      The three developers will present their plans to City Council in the coming weeks, and after that the public will be asked for input.

      "Once we get further into that negotiation where we get a little more detail squared away, we will be inviting the public at that time to weigh in and let us know their thoughts," Gleba said.

      Regardless of which location is chosen, Gleba says the conference center will bring revenue to Jefferson City.

      "I think it will only help the economic development in Jefferson City. It will be an opportunity for visitors to the Capital City to spend money at local businesses, restaurants, it'll only be a win-win for the Capital City," she said.