Tourism meeting discusses plans for Montana ExpoPark’s future

Posted at 2:37 PM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 17:59:12-04

Community leaders and stakeholders met Tuesday morning to discuss the future of the Montana ExpoPark.

Great Falls Montana Tourism Director Rebecca Engum said studies in 2013 and in 2014 determined Great Falls could use a multipurpose event center at the ExpoPark.

“The big question that came out of that is, ‘If we do all of that, what impact is it going to have to the grounds?’ Also, ‘What additional improvements should be made?’” Engum said.

In October of 2018, the findings of another study concerning what the ExpoPark could look like were released. Engum said more questions stemmed from the last study.

In April, the Cascade County Commission approved funding to expand that study, which is known as the Livestock Zone Study. It will focus on reorganizing the livestock areas.

People also had questions Tuesday about parking, rodeos, horse racing, and how the multipurpose event center would be used.

Les Bruner with the Home and Garden Show said there are plenty of venues in Montana that people will drive hundreds of miles to visit for events.

“When Paul McCartney came to Missoula, I know Missoula is a great place, but so is Great Falls. They sold 30,000 tickets. They were renting dry camp spots in Frenchtown. Everyone was going so these venues that get to be this large, so we have to look outside the box and we have to say, ‘If we do build, people will come,’” Bruner said.

The next step is to have the consultant agency return to Great Falls.

Community leaders hope to have something concerning funding for a multipurpose event center or the Montana ExpoPark on the ballot by November of 2020.

Click here to view the 2018 study and draft proposal on improvements to the Montana ExpoPark.

Reporting by Margaret DeMarco for MTN News