Will a "no" vote on the hotel mean the end of the Centre? - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Will a "no" vote on the hotel mean the end of the Centre?

It's looking very likely that the Downtown Hotel in Evansville will not have the votes it needs to become a reality.

Now, the County Commissioner President is talking about the negative impact that could have on bringing new businesses to Evansville.

She's also saying it could mean the loss of a major draw to downtown, the Centre. 

The majority of the Evansville City Council has now gone on record saying they will vote 'no' for the proposed hotel.

Marsha Abell has written an open letter to Connie Robinson saying there are many reasons that outcome will be bad for the future of Evansville's downtown.

Abell writes, "Earlier this year, the County Council seriously discussed boarding up the Old Courthouse and the Coliseum so that both buildings are secure but not in use. And now without a convention hotel we will be looking at securing and closing The Centre. No company, private or public, can continue to operate a facility at losses the size of the ones we have been experiencing at The Centre."

We now know that six out of the nine Council members say they'll vote no, Monday night, on the current plan; The latest, City Council President, Connie Robinson.

Robinson sent out a release on Thursday afternoon explaining why she plans on voting against the hotel.

She believes that Evansville needs a hotel downtown, but she is concerned that there is not a developed master plan that would become a referral source for current and future developments.

"I feel we need to use our limited resources on what will give us the best economic boom and that would be the IU Medical School," said Robinson. "The IU Medical School will provide our urban core with a greater collateral benefit and higher wages than a hotel."

Robinson says the IU Medical School will provide 1,200 full time jobs and the hotel will provide only 200 full-time and part-time jobs.

"The medical school, if located downtown, will foster other developments including a hotel which the city would not have to subsidize at 50%," said Robinson.

Many other members say they also believe the city should concentrate on landing a proposed Indiana University medical school downtown.

They believe that should be the top priority.

Abell says she thinks that school is a "wonderful project, but it won't be before the legislature until 2015. Then what do we sell as the reason to come to Evansville; a tired and worn out looking downtown or a new hotel with the unwritten words that Evansville is open for business."

"I do not believe the IU Med School or any other business will want to locate in Evansville with two large structures boarded up and one closed and not used," said Abell. "What a sad day for this community."

A decision on one of four potential sites for an IU medical school in Evansville or Warrick County could come by the end of this year, with funding from the state in 2015.

Click here to read President Marsha Abell's full comments.


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