City officials in Evansville say they’ll have to start anew on a project to build a downtown convention hotel. At a press conference Thursday morning, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke announced that previous plans for a 257-room hotel are being scrapped because of a $6.5 million shortage in funding.
“This is a disappointing delay but it is not a defeat,” said Winnecke. “We cannot look at it as a defeat. We are fully committed to building a full-service convention hotel in downtown Evansville. It is what we need and we’ll find a path to victory, I assure you.”
The city had committed $20 million in taxpayer dollars for the project, but Old National Bank wasn’t able to cover the entire $14 million dollars it had originally allocated.
“Are we disappointed? Absolutely,” said Old National Bank CEO and President Bob Jones. “This has been our home for 180 years as an institution. This community deserves a convention hotel; this community deserves to continue the great momentum we’ve seen.”
The overall cost of the hotel was just over $71 million. A groundbreaking ceremony took place in March at the proposed building site near the Ford Center, but no construction actually took place.