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12/3/2017 12:17:00 PM
Report suggests larger Bloomington convention center may bring more business to county
The Monroe County Convention Center. Courtesy photo
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The Monroe County Convention Center. Courtesy photo

Ernest Rollins, Herald-Times

From 2013 to 2017, the Monroe Convention Center turned down 470 events or roughly 93,000 attendees.

The figure, one of many, was shared last week as county officials and the public discuss a proposed expansion of the center and whether a food and beverage tax should fund it.

If the convention center’s space and amenities increased, so would the economic impact. A consultant estimates it at an additional $20 million a year.

The county hired HVS, a consultant specializing in the hospitality industry, to update a report from 2011 that also looked at costs and possible funding sources for the longdebated project in downtown Bloomington.

The 2011 study found Bloomington to be the second most desirable destination in the state, despite having one of the smallest convention centers.

Tom Hazinski, a representative with HVS, said there are multiple reasons why the local convention center is losing business, but that 40 percent of the lost business was a result of the convention center not providing enough space.

Convention centers are not profit makers, and that is why public entities get in the business, Hazinski said. He said it is common for convention centers to use a combination of private and public funds to support operations.

Related Links:
• Herald-Times full text

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• Rep. Jeff Ellington files bill to double Monroe County innkeepers tax to 10%

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