Vanderburgh County Commission President, Marsha Abell, blasts some members of City Council in a letter she decided to write after hearing news the Council would potentially vote down a new downtown convention hotel. Abell says the council's decision could have huge consequences. In her letter, Abell says it would be a mistake not to build the hotel, saying no hotel could mean the end of the Centre. Abell says the county has taken huge losses on the Centre since the destruction of the Executive Inn, so this decision could be the final straw
"The Board of Commissioners voted some time back and prepared a resolution in support of a convention hotel, and I assumed it was going to pass from everything I was hearing." It's not the news President of the Vanderburgh County Commissioners, Marsha Abell, wanted to hear. Abell says she was shocked to hear the City Council's plans to vote down the proposal for a new downtown hotel, so she took matters in her own hands writing that letter. "We have to have a hotel hooked to this convention center or it will not be able to continue," says Abell. She adds it's conventions, not shows, that pay the bills. "They shop in our department stores, they go to our museums, go to our zoos. A convention brings a lot of auxiliary business with it." Able says last year alone The Centre lost 469,000 dollars. On the surface The Centre seems to be doing fine with a full event calendar. Hundreds pack The Centre tonight for the annual Chamber of Commerce Dinner.
City Councilwoman, Missy Mosby, says don't let the event fool you. The talk of the night is the survival of the facility, and the hotel. "Last week there was a food distribution convention here and I had the opportunity to speak with several people that came here from out of town. One of there big disappointments was, we had to stay out way past the airport, and it would have been nice if there would have been a hotel here connecting," says Mosby. She says she can see how The Centre is already feeling the impact of not having a hotel next door. "People like that we could lose them. We have already lost several great conventions." Abell says she hopes the City Council considers what she had to say in the letter, and hopes to see The Centre stay in the heart of Evansville's downtown for years to come. "I just hope that the City Council will reconsider. If they can't reconsider, give us an option they can consider. What would they build over there? Obviously a vacant lot is not going to going to attract anything."
We reached out to The Centre for a comment and received no responds.