HOWE - A popular event center currently located in Howe is proposing to move operations. The Michiana Event Center says while plans are still in the developmental stage, it is looking to build a new facility in Shipshewana.

The MEC is current housed in a 150,000 square-foot facility along the Indiana Toll Road. The decision to relocate was made in part because of current demand for manufacturing space in LaGrange County, along with the condition and suitability of the current facility.

Equine events have become very popular for the MEC, which is why it is proposing to design and build a facility that would accommodate more horses in a dedicated stall barn and adding an arena that could seat a minimum of 3,000 people. The arena would be adjacent to an event building which could house all of the shows held by the MEC.

"The scale of this project will not only allow residents a venue for entertainment; it will also serve as an additional tourist attraction in our community," said Ryne Krock, president and CEO of the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp. "Their track record of bringing in thousands of visitors for their shows, and plans to expand and diversify their event offerings, will prove to be extremely positive for LaGrange County and Northeast Indiana. Additionally, their plans to move to Shipshewana will make available a logistically attractive facility that will add to our industrial building inventory in a market where it is in high demand. This really is a win-win scenario."

MEC officials say several key action items and critical deadlines remain for the project to move forward. A timeline for a potential ground breaking has not been released.

"We’re excited to see this project moving forward," said MEC Board member Freeman Miller. "The scale of this project does bring many challenges and will require a lot of cooperation from every party involved, but I am confident in the people involved and believe that his project will bring a valuable asset to this community."