The Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau’s board of commissioners voted 4 – 3 this morning to approve spending $2 million on the City of Evansville’s proposed Downtown convention hotel project. All four of the YES votes came from commissioners who were originally appointed by either former Mayor Weinzapfel or current Mayor Lloyd Winnecke.
Half of the $2 million, will go toward accessories such as a parking garage and sky bridges that would connect the hotel to adjacent buildings. The other $1 million would go toward improvements at The Centre, Evansville’s downtown convention facility.
The funds will be provided over 10 years, with $200,000 paid each year
The seven-member board approved the spending by a vote of 4-3. Donna Leader who was first appointed by Mayor Weinzapfel, Earl Milligan who was appointed by Mayor Winenecke, John Montrastelle who was appointed by the County Commissioners when now Mayor Winnecke was its president and Mike Roeder of Vectren who was first appointed by Mayor Weinzapfel voted in favor of the spending.
Mike Roeder’s day job is with Vectren who provides space for the Evansville Regional Business Committee that employs Evansville Redevelopment Commission President Ed Hafer who spoke out in favor of the hotel project at Monday’s meeting of the Evansville City Council.
Rita Bauer appointed by the County Council, Ward Shaw originally appointed by Mayor Weinzapfel, and Kevin Stahl appointed by the County Commissioners voted against the motion.
The money will come from the CVB’s tourism capital development fund, which the CVB can spend only on projects to promote local tourism. Fund money is generated by Vanderburgh County’s innkeepers tax — money that overnight guests pay when they stay at local hotels.