Originally the facility was estimated to cost a little over $59million, but the cost rose to $62.7 million after the governorvetoed a bill that would have cut construction costs by about $2.5million, and lately the price tag went up to $63.5 million due toincreased labor and insurance costs.

City officials expressed disappointment following theannouncement, but were not surprised given current economic forces.The center was part of a three-prong, $80-million project, whichalso includes a 174-room hotel and 28,000-sf convention center.City officials had hoped the new facilities would attract touristsand help the city compete for small- to medium-size conventionbusiness.

Suggesting the city may revisit the idea of an events center ata later date, Mayor Royce E. Pollard indicated that the city nowplans to move ahead with the hotel and convention center, whichwould be build just south of Esther Short Park. Renaissance, whichis reportedly close to closing a deal to finance the remainingparts of the project, would continue as the developer.

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