Dodge City — Dodge City plans to build a $7 million facility for a large agricultural exhibition show that had previously been held in Garden City and Great Bend.
The Western Kansas Manufacturers Association has hosted the 3i Show, a major ag-related trade expo, in Garden City and Great Bend in alternating years for nearly six decades. The three 'i's in 3i Show stand for irrigation, implements and industry.
The WKMA said this week it has scheduled the show for Dodge City, where the group is based, starting next July and they plan to keep it there at least through 2016, according to The Garden City Telegram.
Eddie Estes, president of the WKMA, said in an email sent to exhibitors that the "main goal always has been and always will be to do whatever we can to ensure our exhibitors have a successful 3i Show."
Ford County Commission Chairman Kim Goodnight said the county agreed to build the new facility south of Dodge City on property owned by the city and county. He said the county hopes the multimillion dollar facility, which will be called The Western State Bank Expo Center, will also host other events.
"We're extremely excited about this opportunity. It gives our community a chance to recognize the importance of agriculture and further complement our venues," Goodnight said. "We're making Dodge City a great entertainment center."
Garden City area officials said they did what they could to prevent the departure of the 3i Show, which they estimated generated about $2 million in gross profits in May when it was held there through motel and hotel stays and gas and food payments by visitors.
Finney County Commission Chairman Roman Halbur said he had hoped Estes would consider a three-way option in which the show is held in alternating years in all three communities.
"After this year's 3i Show (in Garden City), we had indicated to him that's what we would like to see done. ... Obviously, he didn't do that," Halbur said.
He said Garden City will likely some "spillover" economic benefits, including hotel use.
"Any community in southwest Kansas does get some benefit from it," Halbur said.