Study: Lake County Convention Center Would Bring Big Impact

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Bill Hanna is CEO of the Northwest Indiana RDA Bill Hanna is CEO of the Northwest Indiana RDA

A study commissioned by the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority suggests a new convention center in Lake County would bring a major economic impact. The study says such a facility would bring in $400 million to the local economy and more than $44 million in local and state tax revenue over the next 20 years. It would also create more than 700 full-time, part-time, and temporary construction jobs.

The study was conducted by Texas-based consulting firm CSL International. Its findings are based on a possible 145,000-square-foot convention center in Lake County, about half of which would be used for events, meetings, and banquets. It also says a convention center of that size would require an adjacent hotel with at least 225 rooms, along with 400 to 450 additional hotel rooms nearby.

"That $400 million is a conservative figure," Bill Hanna, chief executive officer of the Northwest Indiana RDA. "It only counts direct spending by people coming from outside Lake County to attend conventions and events here. Once that money gets into the pockets of local businesses and employees, it will be spent again and again and drive millions of dollars in further economic activity."

The study identifies nine potential locations for the convention center, which include sites in Munster, Hammond, Gary, Merrillville, Hobart, and Crown Point. Speros Batistatos, CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, says the need for a new convention center has been growing for decades.

The RDA funded the study at the request of Lake County. You can view the study by clicking here.

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