Bloomington Mayor Hamilton signs interlocal agreement for Convention Center expansion

BLOOMINGTON – Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton on Wednesday signed the interlocal agreement between the City of Bloomington and the Monroe County government to collaborate on the expansion of the Monroe County Convention Center.

Mayor Hamilton is one of four required signatories, with ratification now needed by the Bloomington City Council, the Monroe County Council, and the Monroe County Commissioners.

Mayor John Hamilton

“I look forward to the remaining signatories endorsing this agreement, so the Capital Improvement Board (CIB) can move forward expeditiously to build a great product for our community,” said Mayor Hamilton. “After seven years of often frustrating efforts to get this project launched, we are now in a position to advance our economic future. An expanded convention center will help downtown businesses thrive and welcome millions of vacationers, convention-goers, and business travelers, as well as our local patrons and organizations. I extend special thanks to Beth Cate, Bloomington Corporation Counsel, and Greg Goodnight, former Mayor of Kokomo, who negotiated extensively with county representatives over the past months to deliver an interlocal agreement that allows a transparent and streamlined process for the CIB to focus on designing and building a world-class product for our downtown.”

Once the Agreement is fully ratified, the CIB has a responsibility to move forward with designing and building an expanded downtown convention center. Funding and oversight will be provided by the City Council, and a city nonprofit building corporation will issue debt and own the property on behalf of the city. Upon completion of the expansion construction project, the CIB is designated to take over the operation and management of the convention center and will replace the County in its existing contract with the Convention & Visitors Commission for facility management. Once debt service is completed, the city building corporation is to transfer ownership of the facility back to the city and then to the CIB for ongoing management and operation. 

Monroe County Ordinance 2023-24, passed July 5, 2023, by the Board of County Commissioners, established the CIB under state law to oversee the convention center expansion project and granted authority for appointments to the board. The interlocal has been needed to outline the respective roles and responsibilities of the parties involved in the project, including the County, the City, the CIB, and the Convention & Visitors Commission.