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      Speaking Out on Conference Center

      The Jefferson City Council this week heard presentations for the development of a conference center in the Capital City.

      The Jefferson City Council this week heard presentations for the development of a conference center in the Capital City.

      Talk of a conference center coming to Jefferson City has been heard for decades, and now it appears city leaders are ready to take action.

      Farmer Holding Company, a local developer that owns the capital mall, wants to put the facility at the mall at a cost of about $25 million.

      Ehrhardt Hospitality Group, which is based in Hannibal, proposed to put a facility downtown, between the Expressway and McCarty Street with a price tag of $36 million.

      Jefferson City residents have various opinions on the two choices.

      A woman said, "Probably the mall because that's where more people gather."

      Another woman said, "It's on a main highway. It would just work better at the mall."

      A man said, "I like the downtown choice because there is a concentration of people there. You can meet a lot of different people downtown. The mall people are there, but there kind of doing something. They have shopping in mind. Downtown is where people hang out and get to visit. It's cool. You get to meet a lot of really neat people there."

      Jefferson City Mayor Eric Struemph said it will take about 60 to 90 days before we find out a final location.

      City leaders hope to have a new conference center in operation within the next 3 years, but not without plenty of public input.