Yesterday, the Billings Chamber of Commerce sent out a letter on their position with the Management of MetraPark. Outlining what they feel is right, and wrong, with the current happenings at the venue, and how to bring MetraPark to the fullest potential.

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Recently, an audit was performed on MetraPark and its operations, and the findings of that audit have caused concern within the Billings Chamber of Commerce. They say the audit highlighted areas of concern, such as "a lack of industry-standard practices" and an "absence of performance reviews" along with "no documented processes for performing work orders and preventative maintenance". All quite serious things for such a large venue that we have trusted with our safety during large performances and events.

The chamber says these issues "hinder the ability for MetraPark to meet the rising needs of events in our community and grow our visitor economy". Which it certainly can if those issues are truly there, let alone any other issues we have not been notified about.

The Chamber of Commerce stated they "believe MetraPark will be managed most effectively by a professional venue management company, with arms-length oversight by the County Commissioners, and ownership remaining with the public".

Mark Morse, Incoming Commissioner for Yellowstone County, had this to say about it all:

I think they have a phenomenal CFO for the county, and he laid out a roadmap for the commissioners to follow. He said that the two proposals given to him to evaluate, with the current being no economic value, he asked the proposals be tabled for 3 years and work on building the infrastructure and senior management at MetraPark before reaching out for another privatization proposal. The public has voted, and the people of Yellowstone County have sent a clear message wanting local control for Metra. November 2nd was the first meeting for privatization for MetraPark, and I have attended them all. 100% of people who spoke at those events told them to not do it, or slow down and follow the process. The process they chose to follow, the CFO was a part of it, and said we need to table any decisions for 3 years. I wonder what commissioner Pitman and Jones are thinking about this.

The Chamber believes this is a necessary first step before County Commissioners consider asking voters to support a multi-million-dollar capital investment with the Vision 2025 Plan.

Mark had one more thing to say on the topic before we ended our conversation:

The funny thing is, nobody from the chamber has reached out for my thoughts.

What are your thoughts on this? We'd love to hear them. Tell us in the app, or on Facebook.

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