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In a letter released Tuesday morning, the Billings Chamber of Commerce announced that it will drop plans for a bond measure for MetraPark.

The chamber had hoped to persuade Yellowstone County commissioners to put at least one bond measure on a countywide ballot to fund further improvements to the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark. The arena was heavily damaged by a tornado in June, and commissioners still have about $3 million in unfunded projects on their wish list.

But after talking individually with each commissioner, chamber officials realized that they didn't have enough support. Commissioners Jim Reno and John Ostlund said they wouldn't vote to put a bond measure on the ballot, while Commissioner Bill Kennedy said he supported an infrastructure bond for the arena.

The chamber's letter, which came from the chamber's board of directors, cited a Gazette article from Monday in which the commissioners made their positions known on the matter.

"The Chamber/CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) board felt that a unanimous endorsement of the commissioners would be needed for the voters to support the project," the letter stated.

The letter also said the MetraPark advisory board, county commissioners and others should work together on a unified master plan for the entire county-owned complex to ensure that it functions effectively as an economic engine for the area.

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Contact Matt Hagengruber at mhagengruber@billingsgazette.com or 657-1261.

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