A project 20 years in the works
POSTED: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 6:32pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 7:21pm
Tyler, Texas — For 20 years there have been plans for a new events center and hotel in Tyler. Those plans now may be closer to reality after a meeting that will be held Wednesday.
In 2011 the city hired a consulting team to evaluate the possibility of this new convention center. They found that Tyler is conveniently located to attract a lot of private investors for a full-service hotel conference center. There have been two sticking points to getting the project done; one, raising the money. The other, Tyler was a dry city and now recent elections have fixed at least one of these problems.
Tom Mullins the President of the Economic Development Council says, "Tyler is a very attractive city for people to want to come to." He says it's an easy drive to major metropolitan areas such as Dallas, Houston, and Austin and now Tyler is ready for a new convention center.
Mullins said, "Because if we could bring groups in here and they stay in hotels and they eat in restaurants, buy souvenirs they leave a lot of money." Before the recent alcohol election if somebody wanted to have a hospitality room they had to go through a lot of extra work to get it approved. "Now that we've removed that barrier it will be a lot easier for conferences to come in and operate the way they typically do when they go to other cities around the state," said Mullins.
The Economic Development Council says the new event center will not stop people from coming to the Harvey Convention Center it will just help attract more concerts conferences and special events to the city of Tyler.
Well, what are we waiting for? Mullins said, "It always comes down to financing, everybody says the need is there, it's going to come down to a public private partnership." In a press release from November, Mayor Barbara Bass said, "Only a small portion of this project would be public funds-and those would come from hotel tax revenue."
The city says they plan to meet on Wednesday to consider a contract that will take us one step closer to seeing a hotel conference center built. The meeting will be at 9a.m. at Liberty Hall.