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Hotel Tax Funds Sought For Convention Center Expansion

hyatt place blue ash
Courtesy of Hyatt Hotels
The Hyatt Place Cincinnati/Blue Ash is just one of the hotels in Cincinnati, Sharonville and Blue Ash that account for 80 percent of the revenue generated by the county's hotel tax.

Hamilton County commissioners are expected to vote on spending hotel tax revenues on facilities expansion. The Sharonville Convention Center is asking for $225,000 for phases one and two of planning. The next two planning phases would cost $557,000, and construction is estimated to be $10.5 million.

County Administrator Jeff Aluotto says the ultimate plan is to double the exhibition area. "Sharonville occupies a niche in the convention market in a size perspective, that is just below the Duke Energy Center. However, the Duke Energy Center has a minimum of 50,000-square feet, so we have a bit of a gap between that and the 20,000-square feet maximum space that the Sharonville Convention Center serves."

Aluotto recommends commissioners approve the request. "The current project is expected to generate roughly 22,000 additional room-nights annually, to bring the total to around 56,000 room nights. This would also generate an additional $12 million in direct and indirect spending in the county per year, on top of the $15 million already generated."

The administration is also recommending using $2.4 million in hotel tax revenue over four years for marketing and promotion of the Cooper Creek Event Center in Blue Ash.

Aluotto says Cincinnati, Sharonville, and Blue Ash account for 80 percent of the revenue generated by the county's tax on hotel and motel rooms.

An earlier version of this article said the planning phases would cost $575,000. The correct cost is $557,000.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.