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Shawnee City Commission concerned about expo management

Vicky O. Misa
Shown is a screenshot of Shawnee City Commissioners during its board meeting this week, via video conference.

The Shawnee City Commission is concerned about recent handling of the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center by venue manager Spectra, citing disappoint over evidence of a lack of proper management.

Spectra's five-year contract was scheduled for an annual ratification of terms this week, but the board chose to defer the decision until issues could be aired and addressed with the company.

Ward 3 City Commissioner James Harrod pulled the contract item from the consent agenda Monday, sharing his disappointment with the handling of one of the city's biggest event venues.

“On their schedule that they have showing some of the events for the fall, some of those have been canceled, but are still listed on there,” he said. “And the events in the buildings have not been kept up to what we're used to.”

Harrod said the city needs to get Spectra's attention.

He said the city has already spent half a million, and he knows the (COVID-19) virus has affected operations to a point, but there is no reason the grounds can't be maintained.

“I was out there several times for the livestock show and I wasn't pleased at all about some of the attendance or the restrooms and stuff like that,” he said. “I've kind of withheld some of my comments until this came up.”

Harrod said according to the expo's 2021-2022 calendar, there still isn't any entertainment lined up.

“I thought that's what they were going to do,” he said. “I'm just totally disappointed in how it's gone so far; we've been into it six months.”

He said he thinks things have gone downhill instead of uphill.

Mayor Richard Finley requested City Manager Chance Allison take an opportunity to address the performance concerns with Spectra.

The issue will be addressed again at the City Commission's June 1 meeting.

Watch for updates.