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To beautify and improve the appearance of Metra Park, increase attendance at events, improve parking and complete the restoration of the fairgrounds, renovate the Pavilion and the Expo for a conference center, build a new grandstand, build a hotel, replace old barns.

All these are ideas and goals proposed for the future of Metra Park. They came as the result of a retreat at Rocky Mountain College attended by advisory board, staff, county officials and a few others.

One proposal laid out a time line that would be concluded by the end of summer to pass a bond levy request of the voters for revenue to beautify Metra Park — remove, replace and refurbish old livestock buildings, landscape the grounds, replace fencing, etc. That seemed to rank at the top of things that people wanted to see accomplished, immediately.

“Metra Park should be a show piece,” said one retreat participant. “We need to start branding it. It should be Montana’s finest go-to event center.”

Metra Park should look like that kind of place “when you drive by.”

Such was the proposal of one of four groups that formed to identify the top priorities within categories of “Visual”, “Operations”, “Customers,” and “Facility.” They focused their ideas on “where can we go in six weeks to get momentum.”

Another group out lined goals of: in one year being able to announce that improved cellular phone and internet service has been installed – a project that is being currently worked on. In five years, new parking and more arena seating will be announced; and in ten years the announcement that Metra Park fairgrounds is completed.

Another wants to announce in one year that Metra Park has had one million visitors. In five years, “Hotel Announces New Facility at Metra Park,” and in ten years, “Metra Park has five million visitors.”

Among the comments made were:

“We still must recognize agriculture.”

“We have the facility that can provide a higher level convention center.”

“We don’t want to do things that will compete with the private sector, but to provide a facility that will benefit the private sector.”

“We should look at the One Big Sky District model as it relates to Metra Park. We can do some of those things.”