TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WAWV/WTWO) – A historic day for Terre Haute as the Convention Center opened its doors to the community.

Many residents came out to show their support for the new space.

Mayor Duke Bennett spoke at the ribbon cutting and said the Convention Center has been in the works since 2014, and is the largest community collaboration project the city has ever seen.

“This is a true community collaboration and there aren’t a whole lot of projects like this in our past, Bennett said. “This is one of many for the future.”

 Mayor Bennett believes this will put Terre Haute on the map.

“Now that we’ve created a specific location just to be able to host a wide variety of events, it’s going to bring a lot of people into Terre Haute,” Bennett said. 

After the ribbon cutting guests had the opportunity to tour the building and taste test several food and drink options. Over 30 local businesses were in attendance to showcase their services to the community.

Terre Haute Convention Center General Manager Tennille Wanner said it’s only a matter of time until the city will see an economic impact from the space.

“I think that the Convention Center will transform the businesses downtown because tourism will pick up,” Wanner said. “Tourists will most likely buy food in the downtown area, and that’s tax dollars that go back into our community.”

Director of Sales and Marketing Pamela Chamberlain said the Convention Center had several events booked before doors opened to the public.

“We have about 60 events already in our funnel, and about $500,000 income,” said Chamberlain.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend the Grand Opening, the Terre Haute Convention Center will have a Welcome Gala on April 23rd from 6-9. WTWO’s Dana Winklepleck will be the emcee for the event.