The Convention Hotel Is Not a Football

by

President and CEO James A. Heeter

We’re in what some refer to as the “silly season” – when campaign ads start overwhelming local media and complex issues are reduced to soundbites.

Though elections are not scheduled till next spring, and though the process is a long way from complete, some would-be KCMO candidates are already debating the merits of a new, 1000-room downtown convention hotel.  We at The Chamber humbly suggest that the debate is premature.

The City’s Convention Hotel Steering Committee is a long way from a decision.  The Chamber, through our own Convention Hotel Committee, has been meeting for over a year, reviewing the City’s actions as they  analyze the need for and feasibility of a proposed convention hotel.

The Chamber supports the process being undertaken by the City’s committee – a process focused on analysis and evaluation so that, ultimately, a fully-formed recommendation can be made to the City Council. 

By January, we expect to know: 

  • The economic and business feasibility of a new convention hotel;
  • The risks of proceeding with such a project;
  • The risks of not proceeding; and
  • Possible ways to reduce or eliminate risks to the City if the decision is made to proceed.

By January, the City’s committee is scheduled to complete its work – plenty of time for council and mayoral candidates to debate the merits of the committee’s recommendation, whatever it is.  The fact is – we don’t know yet what that recommendation will be.

The Chamber’s Convention Hotel Committee – made up of business leaders experienced in finance, conventions, hotel operations, and business development – will continue to monitor the City committee’s work and will, at the appropriate time, analyze the result.

The key word is “appropriate.”  We know that we don’t know the details yet.  Bottom line:  quit using the hotel as a political football and let the process continue.

With the blessing of The Chamber Board, we sent a letter to the KCMO City Council members to that effect last week.

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One Response to “The Convention Hotel Is Not a Football”

  1. Tom Holden Says:

    I was invited to be on the Chamber’s Convention Hotel Committee and we met one time. I have not heard of any additional meetings. As the Executive Director of the Hotel and Lodging Association of Greater Kansas City and a Chamber member, I would like to be informed of future meetings. At the last meeting it appeared to me that hotel representation on the committee was rather light.

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