New convention center in Tyler

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 6:52pm

Everyone agrees that we have outgrown our current convention venues.

They also agree we're missing out on a lot of business because of it.

So, they want to raise a local tax to correct that problem

The Tyler City Council voted to get legislative approval to increase the hotel tax from 7 to 9 percent.
And the money would go toward a new convention center.

The key question in all this would seem to be, does Tyler really need a convention center?

After all, there’s the Harvey Convention Center. It has hosted antique shows, gem shows, gun shows, even car shows.

So, what’s wrong with it?

"It would bring a lot of people to Tyler who hopefully would stay in a local hotel for a few days, and eat in restaurants. It would be a strong economic driver," says economic development Director Tom Mullins.

"On the other end, we've got the Oil Palace. And the Oil Palace is just a different product, it's privately owned. It can attract a variety of different larger events, but it's had some infrastructure challenges over the years.:

"We're thinking it's not going to affect our travelers here to Tyler very much,” says Tina Makowsky of the Tyler Lodging Association. “It's going to be a minimal effect if any, the 2% increase. Everyone who is associated with our lodging association is in favor of supporting the city on the increase of the 2% tax."

To actually raise the tax, we'll need to get legislative permission, and the Tyler delegation plans to introduce bills this session to do exactly that.

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