A proposed Hulman Center renovation and convention center will first require an investment of $1.5 million for engineering and architectural designs aimed at obtaining better costs estimates for the proposed $75 million project.
The Terre Haute Convention and Visitor’s Bureau board of directors Tuesday voted to provide $200,000 toward that goal.
Greg Gibson, serving as board chair Tuesday in the absence of Bill Burdine, said a plan from Indiana State University splits that cost among the bureau, city of Terre Haute, Vigo County and the university. Gibson said ISU would pay $500,000, while both Vigo County and Terre Haute, would each kick in $400,000, along with the bureau’s $200,000.
The Indiana General Assembly this year approved $37.5 million in state funding as a matching allocation for the project.
“It is a real challenge for this community to come up with $37.5 million and I think the jury is still out on that,” Gibson told the board. “But I have sat in meetings with the county, the city and ISU and I think everybody is supportive and believes this community needs a facility like Hulman Center,” Gibson said. “We sure don’t want to turn down that much money from the state.”
Gibson said the $1.5 million investment will demonstrate to the state that the community supports the project.
“I think the CVB needs to be supportive of this project,” Gibson said. “If it happens, it will sell hotel rooms, there is no doubt about that, and that is what we are here for.”
If the project goes forward, the bureau would have to raise its innkeepers tax from 6.5 percent to 8 percent, the maximum is it currently allowed to raise from the Indiana General Assembly. The 1.5 percent increase would generate about $300,000 a year, which would be committed to the Hulman Center project.