JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Jonesboro Advertising & Promotions Commission meeting Thursday addressed the newest information regarding two proposed convention centers in town.
Commission Chairman Jerry Morgan said despite asking for an update on the proposed Hyatt Hotel and Convention Center on the bypass, he's received no new information on the status of the project from North Arkansas Hotel & Convention Center CEO Chris Keller.
Morgan said he requested that information via email on Aug. 17, a week before their A&P Commission meeting. Additionally, no one representing the project was at the meeting to speak on their behalf.
Initially, the A&P Commission voted to help fund the Keller Family project instead of the proposed Embassy Suites Hotel and Convention Center project on the campus of Arkansas State.
"I think it's important to note we have no commitments to that project," Morgan said.
The lack of commitment to the Keller project has since opened the door for Tim O'Reilly with the Embassy Suites project to once again seek assistance from the commission.
However, Morgan said their request for a 10-year abatement for $300,000 is still an informal request.
O'Reilly was invited to attend Thursday's meeting but could not make it. He did, however, email Morgan about where they stand.
Morgan read the email which stated, in part, "'I am currently working our numbers and seeing about any other sources of incentives, grants, tax strategies, revenue or expense reductions that may help.'"
Morgan later explained to Region 8 News that the "number crunching" is due to increased construction costs for the project.
"And that's been the delay and we're just waiting on them to come back and make a formal presentation," Morgan said.
He added that he is hopeful things will move forward soon.
"Tim O'Reilly definitely wants the project to move forward. The City of Jonesboro does and ASU does because it's a collaboration between everybody and at this point, we're all trying to work together to get that going as soon as possible," Morgan said.
Since O'Reilly has only requested a 10-year abatement of their tax, Morgan said it shouldn't cost the commission anything. Instead, their support would act as a forgiveness of money generated through the project.
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