My Turn, Your Turn: New convention center and hotel - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

10.06.09

My Turn, Your Turn: New convention center and hotel

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By Gary McNair - bio|email

I wasn't living here when everyone was debating the convention center.  Still, I am hopeful city council made the right decision.  Wilmington is a wonderful place - and should naturally be attractive for conventions, expos and meetings, but we have to do it the right way.

Here is the problem. No high-end hotel chain has agreed to build at the location. Potentially, one will, but we are facing the real possibility the center will be open long before any hotel is built.  With no place real close to put the out-of-towners, many feel fewer conventions will take a serious look at Wilmington.  That's the short term problem. 

Here's the long term dilemma: some city council members want to go with something less. You know - something more basic - and not so upscale.  But we have so many advantages over Myrtle Beach, Charlotte and Raleigh.  Why should we settle for something that throws those advantages away? 

City council should be looking to the long term and trying their best to give this convention center a chance to succeed, because if they get it wrong, very few people will be checking into to our town for their convention business.  

That's  my turn.  Now it's your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at yourturn@wect.com.

Emailed response from viewers:

Please do it right.  We build schools and they are crowded before the students move in.   We not only need the convention center, but we also need a port where small cruise ships can come.

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If the convention center is such a good idea, doesn't it seem odd that there aren't any high-end hotels that want to make an investment?  Hotel chains are in the business of making a profit; City Counsel is not.  If City Counsel had more experience with opening hotels, they would probably see why they are having such a hard time getting a high-end hotel to buy in.

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We need this Convention Center like we need a hole the head! What we need are more bridges so people can actually get to the Convention Center! Our daily traffic is ridiculous coming into town during the week, and also on Saturday mornings.

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