IS IT TRUE “Wasted Away Again in Hotelville”


IS IT TRUE that the Evansville Redevelopment Commission voted in favor Wednesday morning to spend another $40,000 to learn what should have been learned at the beginning of the previous administration?…that this $40,000 is going to Evansville’s new daddy, Chicago’s Hunden Strategic Partners to conduct a feasibility analysis on a Downtown convention hotel project?…that sounds so absurd that we have to say it again “the new ERC is going to spend $40,000 to see if doing what the previous ERC recommended spending $8 Million public dollars to do IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO”?…that the chickens of insanity must be coming home to roost somewhere in the City of Evansville tonight?

IS IT TRUE that the 5-member commission voted 3 to 2, with City Council appointees Stan Wheeler and Jay Carter voting NO and the three Mayor Lloyd Winnecke appointees Ed Hafer, Randall K. Alsman and Sara L. Miller voting YES?…that Hunden Strategic Partners states that the study should take roughly two months?…that in two months if all goes according to plan that Hunden will be $40,000 richer, the City of Evansville will be $40,000 poorer and maybe we will all know if the $33 million, 220-room hotel that has been an albatross around the City and the ERC for nearly 4 years is the right thing to do?…that the last time Hunden was hired it was publically advertised that they would be VETTING two proposals but what really went on was that little realy VETTING went on at all and a blessing of financial feasibility was granted to one of the proposals?…that we hope that this time that Hunden has been hired to do the job that the public has been told about instead of to gin up a validation document for someones wet dream?

IS IT TRUE that this should have been done in 2007 when all of the smiles and self congratualatory parties were being thrown?…that there is even a possibility that both the bidders in the last round of RFP’s will throw their hands up in disgust and get on with doing business in a downtown where the convention hotel is someone elses problem?…that both of the local bidders did spend considerable time and money on this ill concieved goose chase and that there should be some consolation prize to both the Kunkel Group and Prime Lodging for putting forth an effort?


  1. When it was determined that Evansville “needed” to replace Roberts, competent leadership would have included what was going to happen to Roberts, the details to replace or renovate the “Big E” and planning the new arena as a package deal.

    At some point it will be determined, if not admitted, that Ford Center, as designed, was too small. Let’s not make that mistake again.

    I suggest determining how many rooms will be appropriate, then design a hotel building with two additional floors. Those two floors could be left empty. When they were needed, complete the interiors of those floors, maybe one at a time.

    But down Evansville merchants are losing money whenever a visitor has to go several miles out for lodging and meals.

  2. Consolation prize for Prime + Kunkel: 2,500 free tickets each to Aces games ! Fill the Arena !!!

  3. I’ll save the city $40K with the most practical and cost effective measure available, not to mention killing several birds with a single stone.

    1. Forget the new building for now, convert this site to existing parking for the arena.

    2. Renovate the McCurdy and adjoining River House into a 1st class hotel.

    3. If more rooms are needed, renovate the Sonntag back into a hotel property. Nicely restored hotel, directly across from the arena.

    4. With that option, we need to place the Sig. There are ample spaces downtown, The Old Courthouse or Integra building come to mind.

    5. We now will have a “triangle” of first rate hotels downtown, The Sonntag, The McCurdy/Riverhouse and the Aztar complex. People moving between these points will create “traffic” for the merchants along Main and other areas downtown.

    6. Provide efficient and regularly scheduled transportation between these hotels and the Ford/Civic Center trolleys.

    This will save millions from building a new building next to the arena, address the McCurdy/RiverHouse dillema and provide people movement throughout the downtown area.

    • Buzzard, your comments made so much sense that former the former ERC leader should reply with his response. Surely they had some plan in mind over the many years they were in charge.

    • Great idea. What’s old can be new again. Only problem is this not pad the pocketbook of those who do studies, the developers, politicians, etc.

  4. Is is true that this study that is one the tarmac just a cover for the city not being able to obtain the incentive funds that it has promised the suitor? Could it be that 40k is a small price to pay for saving face……….when there are a couple developers who had contracts jerked for these precise reasons?

    • You raise an interesting point as always Jack. Please elaborate on the “city can’t obtain funds” part of your post.

    • why not ask Browning to double-down and pay the $ 40,000 for the “study”; which will reveal the “need” for a 375 room hotel, which aces out Kunkel, and which closes the book forever on this entire nightmare ???

  5. Jack, please exp[lan your first sentance. It makes no grammatical or logical sense.

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