NOTE: This article which highlights the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce was published on August 8, 2022 on Inside Indiana Business by Wes Mills.
The city of Bloomington is proposing a plan to take over ownership and operation of the Monroe Convention Center and to pay for an expansion of the venue. City leaders have submitted a proposal to the Monroe County Board of Commissioners and will present the idea Tuesday during the Monroe County Council meeting.
The plan has the backing of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, Visit Bloomington, and Downtown Bloomington Inc.
Under the proposal, the city would pay off the county’s existing debt on the convention center, estimated at approximately $2 million.
“The Convention Center project is extremely important to the vitality of our downtown and to our local and regional economy. I am deeply appreciative of the Chamber of Commerce, Visit Bloomington, and Downtown Bloomington for their leadership in moving this project forward,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “City staff look forward to discussing this proposal and working with the Bloomington City Council, Monroe County Commissioners, County Council, and our many partners to realize this much-needed expansion.”
Under the city’s proposal, the county would transfer all real and personal property associated with the Monroe Convention Center.
The city is also asking the county to transfer any revenue generated by the annual innkeepers’ tax that is earmarked for the convention center to the city.
The county would retain its share of food and beverage tax generated outside city limits for the county’s use, according to the city plan.
The city says it will also contribute its share of the state opioid settlement funds to the Monroe County Health Department to address addiction and recovery efforts. The city estimates it will receive approximately $1.9 million over the next 18 years from the opioid settlement.
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