- Associated Press - Saturday, June 18, 2016

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Evansville is boosting efforts to market the city to visitors as construction finishes up on a hotel near the underused Old National Events Plaza downtown.

The 241-room Hilton DoubleTree hotel is slated for completion by Dec. 19, the (Evansville) Courier & Press (https://bit.ly/1XYeroy ) reported. Officials with the lead contractor, Hunt Construction, said they expect to meet the deadline despite a delay caused by inclement spring weather.

“We’ve got good contractors working every day, every hour we can,” project manager Ryan DeJean said.

The hotel’s construction means the Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau can sell more than just a concept when talking with meeting and event planners.

“The problem when we get in front of these meeting planners is they are very direct. (They say), ‘If you don’t have a hotel, I can’t commit anything to you. When you get a hotel, come back and see us,’” bureau director Bob Warren said.



The Indiana Association of Cities and Towns and the General Baptist Church have shown interest in holding conferences in Evansville once the Hilton DoubleTree opens.

“Before the Executive Inn closed, from 2006-09, we had 74 conventions that were in (the building now known as Old National Events Plaza),” Warren said. “Thirteen of those 74 were picked up by other local properties. The city lost all the others. We’re back out there right now, trying to reintroduce ourselves.”

The Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau is currently courting social, military, education, religious and fraternal meetings.

Tracy Wiley, who has been hired to manage the Hilton DoubleTree, said marketing the hotel will be a group effort involving his own staff, the visitors bureau, Evansville Sports Corp. and others.

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Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, https://www.courierpress.com

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