The first phase in a project that will benefit agriculture in the area began Friday morning.
A groundbreaking for the Missouri Highway 36 Interchange took place near the future site of the Buchanan County Agri-Business Expo Center on Corporate Drive. The around five million dollar interchange will make way for the expo center.
Sharon Cornelius is the Agri-Business Expo President and CEO. Cornelius said the interchange and eventual expo center will help economic growth and develop 60 new jobs within the area.
“The Ag-Expo will be that place where we can celebrate not only agriculture and our youth but our workforce and to just have fun together,” Cornelius said. “Our vision is to be a gathering place that celebrates our heritage and inspires our future – and that’s really what this is about – is inspiring our future.”
Several FFA members were at the groundbreaking ceremony and said they are excited about the future of agriculture in the area.
“Ag isn’t really big in this community,” St. Joseph FFA member Kindall Wisdom said. “With this Expo Center popping up, hopefully it will spread the word about FFA.”
One purpose of the center will be to serve as a place for organizations such as FFA or 4-H to come together and hold contests and other events.
Several donations were made at the event to help construct the center, including a donation presented by Gary Shorman, President and CEO of Eagle Communications.
“This is what Eagle does best,” Shorman said. “We connect with our communities.”
According to Sharon Cornelius, they project that work on the expo center will begin during or after 2018, depending on fundraising.
“The interchange will take about a year to (be) built. The plan and the projected goal is to be working on the infrastructure of the property – putting in roads, utilities, those things – within that year and then begin to build on the commercial side in 2017, 2018, and the Ag Expo beginning to start soon after that.”
For more information on the Agri-Business Expo Center, visit their webpage.