Lawmakers speak on Abilene Convention Hotel

Abilene, Texas (KRBC)-It's a dream Abilene leaders have had for over a decade.

"To build a convention hotel right here and build our business and our downtown area to a whole new high, real game changer for the city of Abilene," said Mayor Norm Archibald.

And through many collaborations, a plan was made to get the wheels rolling on a convention hotel...

That plan: coming in the form of senate bill 729. Which will allow the hotel occupancy tax from the convention hotel go towards paying off project... Instead of being dumped into the state tax funds.

"One of the things this bill does is it doesn't allow us to take the taxes paid by other hotels. It only allows us to use the tax from the hotel that's being built. So by the improvement," said city manager Robert Hanna.

Tuesday the bill passed through the Texas senate and Senator Buckingham, who authored the bill, says she feels good about it passing through the house.

"We're very excited that it passed the senate yesterday, we feel like it's getting good movement in the house as well and we think it's going to bring a lot of economic opportunity into Abilene," said Dr. Buckingham.

City leaders, like the Abilene Chamber of Commerce president, say they believe the downtown hotel will set Abilene apart, which could bring in a demographic Abilene is lacking.

"Very unique to Abilene, urban environment that is appealing to the next generation worker," said Abilene Chamber of Commerce president Doug Peters.

But, peters says he is unsure about the future of the hotel if the bill drops cold in the house.

"If it fails, we'll work with a developer to make it happen but if it fails, I have to tell you, in all likelihood without the support of the state this project probably won't happen," said Peters.


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