The Kennewick Public Facilities District board seems resolved to bring the Three Rivers Convention Center expansion back to voters at some point.
The group gathered Thursday night for the first time since voters rejected the measure in the Nov. 5 election.
The results won't be certified and official until Nov. 26, but the sales tax measure is failing with about 57 percent against.
Board members Thursday praised the citizens committee that promoted the project.
They also noted the short window of time for getting the word out. A campaign for a similar sales tax increase in Richland, Pasco and Kennewick for a regional aquatics facility and water park competed for voters' attention this summer.
"I think the real problem that we had was not reaching people," said board member John Givens.
The financial uncertainty for many at this time, including the recent federal government shutdown, also likely contributed to the measure's apparent defeat, board members said.
The one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax increase in Kennewick would have been used for a $20 million expansion and improvement project at the convention center on West Grandridge Boulevard. The work was to include adding about 50,000 square feet of exhibit space, along with some additional space and parking.
The extra room is needed to attract new events and conventions and retain customers that are outgrowing the existing space, supporters have said.
The Tri-Cities Regional Public Facilities District board proposed the aquatics center measure in August, asking for a one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax increase in Richland, Pasco and Kennewick. The proposal ultimately failed.
The regional group met last week to discuss its future. Members didn't settle on a definite path, but working with other local facilities districts to bundle some proposed projects together was among the ideas raised.
That group plans to gather again in March, with representatives in the meantime meeting with the Richland, Pasco and Kennewick city councils and public facilities districts to check in and talk about the future.
Barbara Johnson, president of the Kennewick board, said during Thursday's meeting that she looks forward to talking with regional board members, noting the two groups will be able to learn from each other after the separate campaigns.
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