- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - An advocacy group for the disabled is finalizing its plans to build a hotel in downtown Muncie that will provide hospitality-industry training to its clients.

The Arc of Indiana presented an architect’s drawing of the 150-room, six-story hotel to city officials on Monday, The Star Press reported (http://tspne.ws/1euJqQG ).

Kim Dodson, the group’s associate executive director, said the Indianapolis-based organization expects to sign a franchise agreement with an international hotel company within the next few weeks.

Plans are for the hotel to have a small portion of its staff be people with disabilities who are in job-training programs.

The hotel is estimated to cost up to $25 million. Dodson said more fundraising is planned to supplement $5 million that the state Legislature designated for the project last year.

“We’re working aggressively toward breaking ground this spring and have our opening in summer 2015,” Dodson said.

The hotel would be near Muncie’s Horizon Convention Center, which has lost some convention business since the last downtown hotel closed in 2006.

Dodson said the current plan is for the hotel to have 30 rooms per floor over five floors. The ground floor would have meeting facilities and other guest amenities, including space with the potential for restaurant, other food service and retail businesses.

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Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com