Marsha Abell Wants Evansville City Council to ‘Think Long and Hard’ About Downtown Hotel Vote
After seeing the headline in the paper that says "Nixing hotel deal may nix The Centre," we decided to go to the source and talk to Marsha Abell about the hotel, and the city council.
Six city council members who have announced that they will vote no on the city spending $37.5 million on the hotel. In our interview, Abell responded by saying, "They should think long and hard about what they are going to do to the community."
Abell says that Owensboro has done a good job of developing a friendly atmosphere for conventions. "If we let a smaller community out do us on this, then shame on us."
She said that the convention business is very competitive and that we are losing money for everyday that the city is without a convention hotel downtown.
Abell also shared that the city and county had a contract in place to assure the county that there would be a hotel attached to the convention center. The agreement, signed when the Executive Inn was still operating, calls for a fine of $30,000 per month be paid to the county for every month that there is not a hotel attached. The county has not asked for this reimbursement.
As president of the County Commission, Abell wrote a letter to Evansville City Council President Connie Robinson to express her concerns about the news the six council members (including Robinson) are planning to vote no on Mayor Lloyd Winnecke's proposed convention hotel plan. In the letter, Abell said that without a convention hotel, there was, "The very real prospect of closing the convention center except for special events."
The city council will meet to vote on the hotel proposal on Monday night. Over the weekend the mayor will be revising the proposal to see if he can present a compromise that will be suitable to the council.
Monday night in Evansville will be interesting to say the least.