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Voters could be key in Taylor County Expo Center upgrades

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ABILENE, Texas - The possibility of a bond election looks to be in the Taylor County Expo Center's future.

"You won't even recognize it," said Jay Evans, a member of the Board of Directors for the Taylor County Expo Center.

Upgrades to the coliseum have been in the works for three years, and the Taylor County Commissioners could announce the $54.6 million proposal on a bond election as soon as August -- putting the item on the November ballot.

"So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive," Evans said.

The updates would bring basic renovations as well as a new multipurpose arena, a new livestock barn and an outdoor pavilion to the expo center.

The expo center generates more than $20 million to Abilene's economy a year.

"We know for a fact if we don't make some changes we will lose a lot of that $20 million impact to other cities that are making those updates," Evans said.

According to the results of a recent survey conducted by the expo center, many Abilene residents believe that upgrades are needed at the facility.

"I think the expo center is good for our community and our town," Debbie Hurt said. "It brings a lot of people in and it definitely needs upgrading."

The cost of the bond is estimated to make property taxes in Taylor County increase by 5.5 cents per $100 valuation, according to Evans. The average home price in Abilene is $140,000. If the bond passes, property taxes for those homeowners would go up $77 a year.

Evans said construction would take three years to complete from the time the proposal is approved by voters.

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