Erie's new $100 million convention center hasn't even opened yet, and already people are worried:
Casey Wells, the Erie County Convention Center Authority's executive director, admits the project has seen its share of cost overruns for things like construction and infrastructure costs, site preparation, and legal fees.
Wells also acknowledges something else -- money will be a crucial issue for the Bayfront Convention Center for years to come.
Local officials are counting on the convention center, located on the Sassafras Street Pier, to become one of Erie's economic engines.
The project also includes a Sheraton hotel and 300-space parking garage, both adjacent to the convention center on West Dobbins Landing.
But according to financial projections from the project's consultants, the convention center will likely show hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of yearly operating losses well into the next decade. That means the publicly funded convention center will need even more public dollars to stay afloat -- money that will come from the Convention Center Authority's share of the county's 5 percent hotel-room tax.
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