TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - 25 years and four mayors later, the plans for a new conference center in Tyler are finally in motion.
"We finally made a plan that we are implementing,” former Mayor Barbara Bass says.
With every joke, there is a little bit of truth.
“We finally talked among ourselves and if you can’t get it done with one mayor, two mayors, three mayors, it’s time to get it done with four mayors,” Bass says.
Plans to reconstruct the Harvey Hall Conference Center facility, as well as revitalize the historic Mayfair is finally moving forward after 25 years of scrimping and saving.
“We passed legislation for an additional 2% hotel occupancy tax to be collected and the city has used this to build a reserve of over $6,000,000,” former mayor Kevin Eltife says.
3 million more is needed for completion by 2021, but the city plans to save that in the next couple of years while the projects are being finished.
“It’s the number one attraction in the city of Tyler, number one sporting venue, the largest municipal rose garden, right here,” former mayor Joey Seeber says.
But crumbling parking lots and old, vacant buildings, are what welcomes visitors to Tyler’s crown jewel.
“It is our identity; it is what helps sell our community,” Mayor Martin Hines says.
And with that motivation in mind, former mayors Kevin Eltife, Barbara Bass, and Joey Seeber and current Mayor Martin Hines finally agreed it was time to invest into the rose complex.
“This remodel, this new work will result in 80,000 square feet of utilization including the Rose Garden Center, the Mayfair building, and the new convention center,” Hines says.
The city of Tyler says the current Harvey Convention Center will be demolished to build a new one right next to it.
The East Texas State Fair committee has purchased land off Highway 64 near the airport, where they will now be hosting the fair from now on.