Tuesday, May 09, 2000

Luken names convention team

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken is counting on a new task force to help sort out how to expand the city-owned convention center and how to pay for it.

        Mr. Luken announced the makeup of the 11-member group Monday. Dan Meyer, chairman and CEO of Milacron Inc., will be chairman.

  • Dan Meyer, chairman and CEO, Milacron Inc. (task force chairman).
  • John Barrett, president and CEO, Western-Southern Life Insurance Co.
  • Dave Anderson, district director, Delta Air Lines.
  • Tom Neyer Jr., Hamilton County commissioner.
  • Dan Fay, president, Commonwealth Hotels.
  • Paul Sacco, managing director, Omni Netherland Plaza.
  • Tom Spegal, Carpenters District Council, Southwest Ohio.
  • Robert Wehling, senior vice president, Procter & Gamble Co.
  • Robert Richardson, business manager, Laborers Local 265.
  • Cliff Bailey, president, Techsoft Systems.
  • Mike Wilson, president, Greater Cincinnati Convention & Visitors Bureau.
        Preliminary plans advanced by the Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau would double the size of the convention center by bridging Interstate 75. The bureau says the center needs to get bigger to attract more conventions.

        Estimates for the expansion range from $350 million to $400 million.

        Mr. Luken worries about the cost and whether building over a highway is the best option.

        He asked the task force to study:

        • The best place for an expansion. He asked the group to find out what it would cost to buy land next to the center, at Fifth and Elm streets.

        • Whether it makes sense to ask for an increase in the restaurant and liquor tax in the county to help defray costs. He also wants to know how much the state of Ohio can realistically be asked to contribute.

        • The best plan for oversight.

        “An expansion of the convention center could well be the foundation of our community's economic development,” Mr. Luken said.


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