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Officials Discuss Convention Center Expansion - UPDATE: Canceled

Officials have canceled the special hearing scheduled this evening for public discussion about the Monroe County Convention Center’s expansion. Officials are looking to purchase about 4 acres of additional land to the east and south of the current building. County representatives and the Convention Center Director say they’ll still try to be in attendance for tonight’s regularly scheduled county council work session to answer any questions members of the public may have about the issue. More discussion is scheduled for Friday’s commissioners meeting. Previous story below...

A meeting Tuesday evening will give the public a chance to speak their minds about the Monroe County Convention Center’s plans to expand. And while Convention Center Director Talisha Coppock said she’s open to suggestions, she said she doesn’t expect to hear any opposition to her request. Convention center officials are hoping to acquire the adjacent plots of land to the east and south of the convention center for a total of 4 additional acres.  Coppock said convention center officials will seek $6.8million in bonds, 1.5million of which, will be used for renovations in the current building. Coppock said the county’s Inn Keeper’s tax will serve as the primary source to re-pay the bonds over an estimated 20-year period.

“Inn Keeper’s tax money, it’s paid by the local hotels, people from out of town who stay overnight. Its not property tax money that property owners here in Monroe County pay,” Coppock said.

Convention Center officials paid off the original bond for the current center earlier this year. County council member Marty Hawk said she was on the council when officials approved that bond 20 years ago and is happy to support the convention center again.

“Visitors coming into town can pay a small amount of money and be able to assist growing jobs here and growing the economy. Its been a win-win here from the beginning,” Hawk said.

Council members will discuss the issue in a special public hearing Tuesday at 5p.m.

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