With the convention hotel project appearing to have unanimous support from the Evansville City Council, many people say it's due in large part to a group of private investors headlined by Bob Jones, President and CEO of Old National Bank. Jones credits the Mayor's Office and the City Council for their work and says he was just trying to help the city move forward.
From the 8th floor of the Old National Bank building, President and CEO Bob Jones has a great view of the Ohio River and a bustling city he now calls home.
Now, his view of the city has become a vision for it.
"I'm not a native but there are so many positives here," said Bob Jones. "You could just feel the sense of if this [hotel project] doesn't get done, it's just a black mark on the city."
That was the feeling late last week, heading into Monday's City Council Meeting. But at the 11th hour, that changed.
"A group of us just got together and said we're going to continue to move this city forward," said Jones. "We're going to continue to make this the great place it can be. This is just one piece to that puzzle."
It would be an $11.5 million piece. The contributions from Jones and other private investors helped to lower the public subsidy on the hotel project from $31.5 million to $20 million, including infrastructure improvements.
The infusion of private investment helped to bring a project that was once considered dead, back to life.
"There's so many good things in this community," said Jones. "One of the challenges I've said publicly is that Evansville has one of the worst inferiority complexes I've ever seen. We don't know how good we can be because we've never really tried. I think [the hotel project] is one great example of us moving forward and doing the right thing."
Jones' job entails balance sheets, interest payments and lines of credit. But he'll be the first to give credit where credit is due even if he deserves at least some of it.
"The process has been painful but back in the day, you used to say no pain, no gain," said Jones. "I think the gain for Evansville will be significant. I applaud the City Council and the Mayor for their leadership and I think this is just a great springboard for a bright future for Evansville."
Jones' investment in the hotel project, he says, moves the city's vision forward. He may not be an Evansville native but he's right at home.