Fairgrounds committee should detail master plan for public

To the editor:

The good citizens of this county deserve nothing less than the full truth and facts related to the Hancock County Exposition Complex Corporation’s proposal to develop the county farm site.

Only honest, comprehensive and in-depth reporting by the local media will put an end to all the confusion and downright misleading information surrounding the proposed development of the county farm site.

With the upcoming primaries facing county voters and the development of the new fairground, convention center and new Purdue CES campus topping the list of contentious local issues, it is more important than ever that all parties start telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Community voters deserve no less, and they need all the facts if they are expected to make informed and educated choices during this year’s local primaries.

First of all, just how much money are we talking about to design, construct and develop the county farm site as is being proposed by the Hancock County Exposition Complex Corporation in their yet-to-be-released master plan?

The last cost figure I have is one that came directly from an HCECC source. The exact quote was probably more than $47 million. Even then, we have no idea of what that includes.

Councilman Kent Fisk, Commissioner Tom Stevens and the rest of the HCECC group have yet to make a copy of an entire master plan available to county officials or to the public for inspection.

The tourism commission forked out in excess of $40,000 to pay TRIAD (the HCECC consultant) to develop this much-heralded but yet to be publicly released plan. The county commissioners and taxpayers are entitled to see a complete copy of the master plan.

Second, what are the estimated equipment, furnishing, equipment and other finishing costs, which will be needed to render the site and facilities fully operational and ready for use? Again, county officials and voters have a right to see an itemized list with estimated costs.

Once the above information has been released and validated, then county officials and voters deserve information on how the HCECC plans to come up with the funding.

In the beginning, we heard repeated refrains from County Commissioner Tom Stevens and Councilmen Kent Fisk, Jim Shelby and others that not a penny of taxpayer money would be needed to fund the HCECC proposed initiative. Well, we all know now that has turned out to be one heck of a whopper!

At this point, the HCECC has failed to publicly release their proposed funding program despite repeated requests from Commissioners Brad Armstrong and Marc Huber and members of the public.

Nobody has yet to sufficiently explain to the public’s satisfaction what are the benefits to the county and county taxpayers of using the Hancock County Exposition Complex Corporation or any other private corporation to develop the county farm site.

Going forward, let’s hear only the truth concerning the facts surrounding this issue. The good citizens of this County deserve nothing less.

John Priore