Waco: Extraco expansion project likely longer, pricier than planned

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) The first phase of a multi-million dollar project in Waco will likely be more expensive that originally thought, local leaders said Monday.

"The Expo Center has come in with an estimate of about $32-million, which is higher than was hoped for," said Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver.

City and county officials gave an update on the Extraco Event Center master plan during the McLennan County/City Intergovernmental Relations Committee Meeting Tuesday afternoon at Waco City Hall.

Deaver said the higher cost estimate for the primary part of the project means the rest may have to be phased in over time rather than doing it all at once.

"While that's not ideal, there are also some real benefits to doing that," Deaver said.

However, County Judge Scott Felton said he felt confident the 'real costs' would be lower than projections.

"I think everybody's going to be very pleased with the final product," Felton said of the project. "But it will take some time."

While the first phase of the project is expected to take five years, the estimated timeline for the project is 40 years.

"Some of us might not make it to the end of this, but it will be there for our children and our grandchildren,and for future generations of citizens," said Deaver. "That's really the job of the city council and county commissioners is to look long-term and try to build things that will make our community better as we go along."

The project is funded by a voter-approved venue tax in May, 2017, with revenue going toward renovations at the 60-acre site off Bosque Blvd., mostly owned by the county, City of Waco, and Waco ISD.

The five-percent tax on short-term rentals and two-percent hotel/motel occupancy tax has generated more than $3 million; $2.8 million of which is the projected estimate for 2018, exceeding the original projection of $1.9 million.