You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.


  • Raising awareness for referendum
    Officials kicked off a public awareness campaign on the Courthouse Green on Tuesday on a November voter referendum to change the county’s model of government.
  • Classic cars take to the streets
      Dozens of classic Auburns, Cords and Duesenberg cars converged on Fort Wayne’s General Motors Assembly plant Tuesday to let the people who build the most up-to-date trucks have a peek at what the auto industry was producing years before
  • With county funds short, groups cancels requests for more
    The presiding judge at the Allen County Juvenile Center has withdrawn an appeal for $96,000 for next year's county budget after finding out last week there is no general fund money left for appeals.

Evansville conventions hinge on hotel: Official

– Evansville’s convention center might have to be shut down unless the city’s financial backing of a proposed 12-story downtown hotel and apartment complex wins approval, a county official says.

The Centre convention complex has an operating deficit of more than $160,000, Vanderburgh County commissioners’ President Marsha Abell wrote in a letter Thursday to the president of the City Council, adding that the planned adjoining hotel is needed to help attract more events.

“Without a convention hotel, we will be looking at securing and closing The Centre,” Abell wrote. “No company, public or private, can continue to operate a facility at losses the size of which we have been experiencing at The Centre.”

Abell’s comments come as a majority of City Council members have come out against Mayor Lloyd Winnecke’s proposal for $37.5 million in city subsidies toward the estimated $74 million hotel project, the Evansville Courier & Press reported.

The city’s money would go toward building the 253-room hotel, a parking garage and bridges to link it to the convention center and the $127 million Ford Center arena that opened in 2011.

The developer would pay the cost for a planned apartment tower.

City Council members have said they’re concerned about the size of the subsidy and wonder whether it would hurt Evansville’s ability to offer future incentives to help get a proposed Indiana University Medical School facility built downtown.

City Council President Connie Robinson, a Democrat, said she opposed Winnecke’s proposal, though she understands the need for a new downtown hotel.

“I am concerned we have not developed a master plan that would become a referral source for current and future developments,” she said.

Abell and Winnecke, both Republicans, point to the decline in convention business since the former Executive Inn shut down four years ago and was later demolished.

The new hotel would be built on that site.

Indiana University officials have announced plans to expand its current medical school operation in Evansville, currently housed at the University of Southern Indiana, but the state legislature isn’t likely to consider funding for it until 2015.

Winnecke said he would continue lobbying City Council members over the weekend to support the hotel incentives ahead of a possible vote Monday.