According to the management firm hired to oversee the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center, the EOTEC Authority Board does not have enough money to complete the entire scope of the original plan for the facility, including fairgrounds, a rodeo arena and an event center.

John Frew, CEO and president of the Frew Development Group, the firm hired to manage the project, told the EOTEC Authority Board at its meeting Friday the project would have to be scaled back unless more money could be raised. Frew also told the board it had a series of decisions to make before the process could move forward, including whether to amend plans to build both an event center and rodeo arena.

“Before we even put pen to paper, we need to decide is there a rodeo arena and an event center,” Frew said. “That’s a huge difference both on the capital side and the operations side.”

Frew asked the board members what their priorities were for the project. He said the debate now is how to build the facility.

“The biggest challenge today is to decide, do you build one facility or two,” Frew said. “Do you build a rodeo and an event center, or do you combine them? That’s the biggest swing on this thing with the budget. You don’t have enough money to build both. That’s a decision you will have to make.”

Frew told the board, without careful consideration early in the process, some things members wanted in the new facility may have to be sacrificed.

“If you build two facilities, you are either going to have to come up with more money, or there isn’t going to be all the other things that you want,”?Frew said. “Those are tough decisions.”

Board Chair Dennis Doherty said the board needed to do more work before making any firm decisions.

“We need to have a plan of action,” Doherty said. “We need to have a timeline. We need to know what our priorities are so we can get this part of the project tied down.”

The one issue all parties seemed to agree upon was the need for transparency with the public. The board, Frew and Mayor David Drotzmann all said having the public involved in the discussion was an important aspect of the process.

“I look forward to that process and that conversation,” Drotzmann said. “I think involving the community in some sort of public forum makes sense. Once you guys say ‘this is what we are thinking about and this is what we can afford,’ then we get some feedback from the community.”

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