City May Grant $3.5M More To Finish Event Center
By Mike Perleberg
A bird’s eye view of the Lawrenceburg Event Center during reconstruction of High and Walnut streets around it during the month of June. Photo provided by Messer Construction.
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Another $3.5 million grant and $1.1 in loaned money could soon be approved to complete construction of the Lawrenceburg Event Center and Hotel.
Lawrenceburg City Council unanimously voted June 23 to give a favorable recommendation to a $3.5 million grant for Hollywood Casino owner Penn National Gaming from the city’s 10-county economic development grant program. Councilman Mike Lawrence, an outspoken critic of the project, was not present at the meeting.
Hollywood will use the money to bring aspects of the 168-room hotel in line with requirements of the Doubletree by Hilton hotel franchise. The Lawrenceburg Redevelopment Commission is serving as the government agency sponsor of the grant application.
“They did approve the sponsorship of a grant for $3.5 million to go towards the gap in the funding in the LEC project gap list,” city attorney Leslie Votaw told council.
HOLLYWOOD CASINO LAWRENCEBURG IS HOLDING A JOB FAIR FOR POSITIONS AT THE LAWRENCEBURG EVENT CENTER ON TUESDAY, JULY 1. READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE.
The tentative agreement – contingent on the $3.5 million grant – has Penn National Gaming willing to add up to $1.1 million to their $14 million loan with the city. The company would also promise to operate the event center for a minimum of four years, make at least 65 percent of the employees at the facility from Dearborn County, and guarantee a certain number of jobs in the first three years. If Penn National does not operate the center for at least four years, they will pay back the $3.5 million grant.
Without the grant, work on the hotel could stop within three weeks, Votaw said.
Now with council’s recommendation, the grant application heads to the Lawrenceburg Grant Committee. The agreement will return to Lawrenceburg City Council on July 7.
The $49 million facility hosted its first event – a wedding with about 200 guests – on June 21. More events will take place in July.
Work inside and outside the event center continues by crews on site each day. Repaving of the streets around the event center was completed in late June.