City of Fort Wayne Expects To Cash In On State GOP Convention

By Rachel Martin

July 24, 2013 Updated Jul 24, 2013 at 8:24 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – The 2014 Republican State Convention is expected to generate thousands of dollars for Fort Wayne’s local economy.

The city of Fort Wayne will be in the spotlight when the Republican State Convention comes to town. Organizers say it's the first time in the state's history that the GOP convention will be held outside Indianapolis, and it should have a great impact on the local economy.

Allen County Republican Chairman Steve Shine says an amendment was made to the state by-laws that now allows the convention to be held outside of the state capitol.

The Allen County Republican Party and Visit Fort Wayne rallied to the state to committee to have it in Fort Wayne, and now it will be happening downtown at the Grand Wayne Center next June.

Organizers say they're planning for more than 2,000 visitors, and predict the event will bring in $300,000-$500,000 to the city.

Shine says the local GOP will have a host committee that will raise money to accommodate visitor transportation, lodging and help the political party cover the cost of the event. This way, he says, the delegates can spend their money on having fun downtown.

"We intend to make this not only something to take care of Republican business, but also to entertain the delegates, to draw them to Fort Wayne, to know that they will be either a national music group, a national speaker, entertainment for them. Something that they will want to do that they would do even if there was no convention in Fort Wayne to spend their weekend here with us,” said Shine.

Visit Fort Wayne President and CEO Dan O’Connell says the Grand Wayne Center's connection to the Courtyard Marriott is what appealed to the state committee, along with downtown's accessibility to many other activities.

"Having the ability to roll right out of their hotel room, walk across the street or through a sky walk to the convention center, then go down just a block or two to a dining district that night, really makes downtown Fort Wayne very walkable. Having a walkable downtown is very critical to the convention market as well as to the quality of Fort Wayne,” said O’Connell.

Although Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry is a democrat, both the mayor’s office and Shine confirm Mayor Henry will be in attendance and participate in convention activities. Tentative dates for the convention are June 6 & 7, 2014.

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