Residents get close up look at proposed convention hotel plans - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Residents get close up look at proposed convention hotel plans

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Passionate arguments were shared as the public got its first chance to speak out about Evansville's proposed downtown convention hotel.

The first of six public meetings drew a large crowd Tuesday night. Some are questioning the plan, while others say it's the start of a new Evansville.

"Let me tell you folks, we deserve it. Say that after me, we deserve it," a resident said.

It's the $74 million question: to build or not to build a new downtown convention hotel? Many who packed the room at the Red Bank Library were eager to give their answer.

"All these properties are sitting here wanting to be developed within a block of that center.  Why can't we use that," another resident said.

 Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke sat and listened as residents took the podium, critiquing his plan to bring more convention business to the city's downtown by building a first class hotel with all the bells and whistles.

"The skywalks, how much are those and why are they needed? Why is our tax money going for something that we already have 10 feet lower called sidewalks," a concerned resident said.

 Others say it's exactly what Downtown Evansville needs to stay ahead in a very competitive convention industry.

"I love Owensboro as my hometown, but I don't want them to pass us and they're on path to do that. Maybe not in size, but surely in attractiveness," resident J. Cory Mills said.

 Attractiveness is exactly what Phyllip Davis says this hotel needs. Not only to attract out of town guests one time, but to keep them coming back.

"We go into a new hotel, take pictures out the window, take pictures of the thing, put it on Instagram and you feel special. Feel like, 'Wow, I wish our place was this nice whenever we're out," Davis said.

If you want you opinion heard, there are other public meetings as well. Click here for a list of those meetings.

Wednesday morning, Mayor Winnecke will request financial support for the $74 million downtown hotel project from the Convention and Visitors Bureau. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. A 14 News crew will be there and watch for our reports Wednesday on air and online.

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