Stakeholders fill a room as officials returned to talk funding of the convention center expansion project. (Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News)
The expansion of the Monroe Convention Center in downtown Bloomington is moving forward again. The project stalled a few times the past year as city and county officials couldn’t come to terms on how to work together.
A work session Monday night included the city council, mayor, county council, and county commissioners. The discussion focused on funding.
City financial advisors estimate it will cost $37 million to fund the expansion and connectors to the existing center and new hotel. Another $7 million would pay for the renovation of the existing convention center. Funds would come from the county food and beverage tax.
Officials centered in on the proposed $15 million 500 space-parking garage. Advisors say tax district revenue or other city funds would pay for the garage. City council member Steve Volan says user fees could help cover the cost, or the garage shouldn’t be built at all. Instead, Volan says they could use the money to run shuttles from other garages to the convention center.