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County officials to rank future possible hotel/conference cente

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

Harrison County Planning Commission officials soon will begin ranking three sites that might house a future hotel and conference center.

County commissioners Thursday discussed with the Planning Commission director the criteria that will be used to rank the three sites, President Roger Diaz said.

"They will rank each one in terms of location and other things," he said.

Three groups responded to a Request For Proposals issued by the Planning Commission late last year.

The teams consist of property owners, architects and others who will develop and construct the center.

All three teams proposed property in the Bridgeport area.

Once the proposals are ranked, commissioners will try to schedule an appointment with the area's congressional delegation in an effort to secure federal funding, Diaz said.

"We would like to go into this conference center with federal funds, and have no on-going red ink," he said. "Most conference centers operate in the red because they have so much debt."

Federal funds will allow the commission to own the center and lease it to a private operator, Diaz said.

Commissioners believe the center will be a boon for the local economy, Diaz said.

"We look at this as an economic stimulus," he said.

Staff writer Paul Darst can be reached at 626-1404.

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