There are both concerns and praise for a proposed convention hotel in downtown Evansville.
If one thing is clear, many want a convention hotel, but some aren't sure how much the city should have to pay for it.
A presentation to Evansville's City Council quickly turned into a game of numbers.
"What I'm puzzled about, you're only assessing the hotel at $20 million,"Council member John Friend said.
Developers from HCW detailed the $73 million downtown convention hotel project. Half of which would be paid for by public funds.
"It's a $70 million project and the city is a partner in just over 50 percent and HCW just under that. It's a strong public/private partnership," Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said.
"When you have a convention center, it's hard not to have a hotel. But it's like the question, we all need an automobile, but the question is, do we need a Mercedes or do we need a Buick?" Friend said.
The public packed the Civic Center, many taking the podium to praise the project, dubbing this the next step in creating economic growth downtown.
"I can tell you I have a strong belief that downtown Evansville was, is, and always will be worth the effort," a speaker said.
"I just think we're making great strides and the city has a whole lot of potential," said Jerome Stewart, who is a small business owner.
"We really need to keep on going with this and get the hotel built and get the medical center built downtown also," said Tom Vukovich, a union supporter.
Mayor Lloyd Winnecke told the council funding for a proposed Indiana University Medical Center could come in 2015.
But that the hotel project must be the city's first priority.
"Yes, we have the financial capacity to do both and I think Evansville's time is now. I think now is the time to be bold," Mayor Winnecke said.
Winnecke says a request for funding could come in a couple months. If approved, groundbreaking could come in late summer, early fall.
The project slated to take about 18 months to complete.
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