For those who support the convention center, there are many reasons, from creating jobs during construction to attracting new people to the city who will then shop at local stores, dine in restaurants and stay in hotels.
One estimate showed the center will generate $1.5 million a year in city and county taxes.
With an expected opening date in mid-2010, the center will host events with 1,000 to 1,500 people, making it the largest convention facility on the N.C. coast.
Some opponents don’t believe all the hype, saying it will become a “white elephant” on the riverfront that will suck taxpayer dollars from the city coffers.
Funding for construction (more than $60 million) and operation of the center is supposed to come from a 3 percent tax on motel and hotel stays inside the city, which has been collected since 2003.
But opponents argue that if the center isn’t successful, the city will have to tap into its general fund to help pay for operations and upkeep. Wilmington City Council, which has pushed the center for many years, has long said that won’t happen.
Date posted: April 6, 2009