The downtown Terre Haute Convention Center project took some steps of progress today at a Vigo County Capital Improvement Board meeting.

The CIB approved a resolution requesting the issuance of a general revenue bond by Vigo County.

“Usually for a project this size, you just kinda need to bond it out, that’s the way it works, that’s kinda the best scenario for all the players here,” said Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett. 

An updated budget estimate for the project adds up to $31.5 million, not including property acquisition, and the bond is not to exceed $25 million, so the CIB also moved a resolution approving the interlocal agreement, which entails how the rest of the budget will be accounted for.  

“You’ve got the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau, you’ve got the city of Terre Haute, you’ve got the Terre Haute Redevelopment Commission, and you’ve got the county all contributing to make that bond payment and so all the partners here have worked well together to make that reality and so now the steps are to make the county council will have to do the official actions to make the bonding happen,” said Mayor Bennett. 
Mention of a backup plan involving the raising of property taxes brought about some questions from County Council President Aaron Loudermilk , but the financial consultants and board members are fairly sure that will be avoided. 

“With the Economic Redevelopment Commission stepping up and saying that they would pledge that if that fails, that’s almost taken the idea of raising property taxes again off the board,” said CIB President Jon Marvel.

The City and County Councils, along with the Visitor’s Bureau Board, will now meet to approve the issuance of the bond, a process that is not exactly simple.

“It’s very complicated and certainly if I were on the council I would have a lot of questions myself,” said Marvel. 

But community leaders feel Wednesday’s meeting marks the beginning of significant progress in the project.

“We know where we’re at from the design phase of this, so we’re able to put a budget together, we know what the project costs are gonna be total now, we know that the funding is in place to make this work, so now we have to do the official steps to go and bond out the project so we can get the construction started,” said Mayor Bennett. 

The CIB also approved a second phase of investigation services by Patriot Engineering and Environmental Inc. to assess the commercial property at Cherry and 7th Streets.