Council Urged Not to Wait on Hotel Vote Petition

One of the organizers of the opposition to a downtown convention hotel says the City Council should speak out.
Dan Coffey of the group Concerned Citizens for Responsible Government says the City Council should not wait 60 days to respond to the group’s successful petition drive.
The call for a city-wide vote on the $310 million downtown convention hotel was certified as valid late last week.
The Council has 60 days, according to the City Charter, to respond.
“And we don’t want to wait 60 days. We think it needs to be brought to a head, it needs to be finalized,” Coffey said.
Coffey group sent a letter to City Council Members this week, urging them to “make the city respect the democratic right of the electorate”, for a vote on the plan.
In its final weeks, the previous Council held hearings and voted to approve the convention hotel project.
Under the terms of the deal, the city’s financial obligation is limited to $35 million dollars, as the cost of acquiring the land for the hotel.
The city already owns most of the property next to the city’s Convention Center, just south of the downtown loop.
Booster of the hotel project says the city needs the new 800-room facility to regain position in the convention hotel business and that contracts have already been signed.
“Contracts are contracts. They all have opt-out clauses in them. So we don’t see that as a major stumbling block,” said Coffey.
There was no comment today from Mayor Sly James’ office. He supports the hotel project.

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