Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

CVB Will Ante Up $2M for Hotel ; Fund Spread over 10 Years

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

CVB Will Ante Up $2M for Hotel ; Fund Spread over 10 Years

Article excerpt

In a split decision, the Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau's board of commissioners voted Wednesday to contribute $2 million toward the city's proposed Downtown convention hotel project. Of that $2 million, half will go toward ancillary items such as a parking garage and pedestrian sky bridges that would connect the hotel to adjacent buildings. The other $1 million would go toward improvements at The Centre, Evansville's Downtown convention facility.

The money is to be provided over 10 years, with $200,000 allotted each year. The funding is contingent upon city officials' agreeing to move forward with the project.

This marks the fourth time city officials have tried to bring in a hotel to replace the Executive Inn, which was torn down in 2009.

The effort is in gear again. Earlier this month, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke announced that a final development agreement had been reached with Missouri-based developer HCW to build a 253-room Hilton DoubleTree Hotel adjacent to the Ford Center.

At Wednesday's meeting, Winnecke told the CVB board that the project will cost $76.3 million. Of that amount, the city would contribute $37.5 million and HCW would contribute $38.8 million.

The project also would include a parking garage, apartments, pedestrian sky bridges and retail space. It would also include some upgrades to The Centre. Community meetings regarding the project are being held around the city, and Evansville's City Council is set to vote on the matter Sept. 9.

The seven-member CVB board approved the funding request by a vote of 4-3. Donna Leader, Earl Milligan, John Montrastelle and Mike Roeder voted in favor of the spending.

Rita Bauer, Ward Shaw and Kevin Stahl, who all work in the local hotel industry, voted against the motion.

The money will come from the CVB's tourism capital development fund, which the CVB can spend only on projects to promote local tourism. Money in the fund is generated by Vanderburgh County's innkeepers tax that overnight guests pay when they stay at local hotels. …

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