Chamber Pushes Convention Center Collaboration

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Source: Monroe Convention Center Source: Monroe Convention Center

The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is calling on city and county leaders to move forward on an expansion of the Monroe Convention Center. The chamber says, now that a food and beverage tax to support the project has passed, the city and county should work to find common ground and re-open the search for a developer partner.

The organization says it has pushed an expansion of the Monroe Convention Center for several years as part of its Local Public Policy Agenda. Chief Executive Officer Erin Predmore says many of its members are impacted by the project, and is calling for transparency as city and county leaders continue discussions to make sure "the best possible project gets funded by our tax dollars."

Last year, Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton spoke out in favor of the project as well as the food and beverage tax to fund it. The 24,000 square-foot facility can accommodate about 800 people, according to its website. Last year's resolution from the city supporting the project said the convention center's limited size prevented 40 groups from holding events in the city.

In April 2017, the county released a Request For Qualifications for a full-service hotel and convention center expansion. But, the chamber says, with limited notice and vague requirements, only two companies submitted pitches. Predmore says the chamber wants city and county leaders to re-open the process to gauge interest and feasibility of the project.

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