Democratic Convention Brings Cash

By Daniela Salvador
By Max Resnik

June 14, 2012 Updated Jun 16, 2012 at 11:39 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – As delegates from the Indiana Democratic Party begin filing into Fort Wayne, with them comes an immediate economic boost to the local economy.

For the first time ever, the state’s Democratic convention will be held outside Indianapolis. Instead, it will be held here, in the state’s second largest city, Fort Wayne. The Democratic convention will be held at the Grand Wayne Center in downtown Fort Wayne, but that is just one venue that will not only feel an influx of people but an influx of money as well.

Visit Fort Wayne estimates that approximately 2,000 delegates will participate in the convention. Many of them are coming to Fort Wayne on Thursday, two days before the convention begins. Megan Flohr, information services manager with Visit Fort Wayne, says most of the out-of-town guests will be staying at Courtyard by Marriott and the Hilton, both of which are close to sold out. She also says rooms will be booked in southwest Fort Wayne, resulting in money being spent in other parts of the city besides the downtown area.

Flohr estimates that over the course of the next three days, $500,000 in “new money” will be brought into Fort Wayne. She says that is based on everything from hotel rooms, food and gas to golf outings prior to the convention, a TinCaps game, Ribfest and money spent inside the Grand Wayne Center.

“When we say “new money,” that’s money that wouldn’t normally be spent in Fort Wayne. So it’s not the guy who lives off Lima Road coming down and going to a TinCaps game, it’s the guy who lives in Evansville coming into town and going to a TinCaps game, buying souvenirs for his children to take home, having a hot dog and enjoying himself.”

Flohr says immediate economic impact dollars are crucial to the local economy because they sustain jobs. She also says the money spent here will stay here. She calls “new money” free money because those dollars would not have otherwise come to Fort Wayne.

Mayor Tom Henry (D) will serve as one of the hosts for the Democrats. He says it is important for the City of Fort Wayne to put on an exciting show for the delegates. Henry views the convention in the Summit City as an honor and one that can give Fort Wayne greater recognition throughout the state and the country.

“Many of these people have never been to Fort Wayne before, so we want to make sure that they’ll come back to visit us. They’ll visit our zoo, visit our theater district and so on. But also, we want to bid again, I’m sure, on the state Democratic convention back in Fort Wayne in the future. There’s no question about that.”

The Democratic Convention is Saturday, June 16.

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