Horizon Convention Center dresses up for new DWNTWN Muncie IN hotel in 2015

Convention center sees record revenue

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - The Horizon Convention Center is sprucing up its pavilion and doing other renovation in advance of a new hotel being built next door.

And the center has landed the ARC of Indiana state conference in 2014 that will bring more than 400 people to the community. The ARC is financing the new hotel to be a training sight for those with disability. And General Hotels of Indianapolis is managing the property and plans to announce a name in February with construction starting next summer.

 Joann McKinney, convention center director, provided members of the Delaware County Civic Center Authority, updates on the building, sales and revenue this week amid the renovation of the gathering place.

 The pavilion floor is being refinished and other work costing nearly $300,000 will be done during the winter. The biggest change for the public is the reception desk for the convention center will finally in the pavilion where the main entrance of center is located on High Street. 

 McKinney said it was great to have a hotel return downtown after the Roberts Hotel closed and is now being converted into apartments. And McKinney hired an outside sales person to help market the convention center and hotel.

 The convention center was initially the old post office in a deal to renovate the Roberts. And an expansion was built to accommodate the Muncie Children's Museum and more trade shows.

 Billie Sheppard, chairman of the CCA board of directors, talked about the new hotel and other convention center needs as McKinney explained a parking garage would have to be built since the hotel will be located in the convention center's current parking lot.

Mayor Dennis Tyler has talked about a parking garage downtown, but there's been no deal yet on financing or construction.

McKinney said revenue for the convention center continued to improve with more restaurants. Convention need are funded by a one percent tax on food and beverage.

That tax raises about $1.8 million a year and this month it was $189,157, about $40,000 over last month and $55,000 more than December 2012.

The convention center averages more 25 event days a month with at least a quarter of a million dollars impact locally.