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County commissioner to offer own funding plan to help Lancaster County Convention Center

By , - Last modified: August 17, 2012 at 10:30 AM

One of Lancaster County's commissioners will offer a proposal next week to solve the Lancaster County Convention Center Authority's funding problems, according to a news release.

Scott Martin, the commissioners' chairman, will present his plan at 3 p.m. Aug. 22 in the commissioners meeting room, at 150 N. Queen St., Room 701.

Martin's executive assistant, Angie Eichelberger, said this morning that she could not elaborate on Martin's plan. "That will all be told at the press conference," she said.

Penn Square Partners, a special-purpose partnership of the High Cos. and Lancaster Newspapers Inc., collaborated with the convention center authority, a specially created public agency, to build the convention center and adjoining Marriott Hotel at Penn Square. Penn Square Partners owns the hotel's franchise, leasing the property from the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster.

The convention center authority owes $64 million in construction debt.

Two reports this year — one by the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau and one by Convention Sports & Leisure International, a consultant hired by the convention center authority — determined that the convention center cannot cut expenses or grow revenue enough to pay off that debt.

Convention Sports & Leisure's report recommended raising the county's hotel tax from 3.9 percent to the maximum 5 percent; the visitors bureau, however, opposes that option.

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