It's a giant step forward for the future of Evansville's new downtown convention center and hotel. Shovels break into the ground where the Hilton Double Tree hotel will soon stand.
About a block away, businesses along Main street say it's a step forward for them, as well. "We are really excited about it. We have been waiting for this for a while." For more than fifteen years, Rafic Hachem, and his restaurant Milano's Italian Cuisine, have called Main street home. "It's been a wonderful fifteen years so far," says Hachem.
He wants to keep it that way. "The downtown does need a hotel, badly," says Hachem. Serving his customers through the years, Hachem has watched the downtown area grow. "We have the Victory Theater down here, and now we have the convention center." Hachem says he and several other business owners agree, something is missing. That something, is a convention hotel. "We've been waiting for this for three or four years now to be honest. We lost a lot of business by losing the Executive Inn." Hachem says he and several businesses took a hit when the former executive inn closed its doors. "We got a lot of business out of it."
With a new hotel on the horizon, Hachem believes business will thrive. "Business will pick back up again, and we will make up for all the losses we had back then." Hachem believes it's not just downtown that should be excited for the hotel, but the entire city of Evansville. "It will be great for the whole city. It's not just for downtown. It will help the whole town, I believe," says Hachem.
The sound of shovels digging into the ground are heard to the business owners on Main street. "It brings a lot of people down here, and that's what we needed. That's what we needed."