IDAHO FALLS (AP) — The city has hired a consulting firm to determine whether a multipurpose events center is needed in the region and whether it would be supported.

Idaho Falls Mayor Jared Fuhriman and Robb Chiles, president of the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday that Economic Research Associates could begin a feasibility study next month.

However, the company will not be officially hired until the community comes up with $50,000 in donations to pay for the study.

"I think that will be a good gauge to find out how much the community supports this," Chiles told the Post Register.

The study, if it happens, will determine how large the center should be.

Officials in 1999 asked voters in the county to approve an auditorium district that would have given an elected board the ability to enact a 5 percent sales tax on motel rooms in the district.

The district was opposed by the motel industry, including the Boise-based operations manager for AmeriTel Inns, Chuck Everett. The company spent thousands of dollars to persuade residents to vote against the district. The proposal narrowly lost.

A 2003 property tax proposal in Idaho Falls to help pay for a recreation center got only 20 percent of the vote, well short of the two-thirds majority required.

Chiles said a partnership with a private group would be ideal, but none has come forward to build an events center.