Floor Tek showcases latest in floorcovering technology

Matt Hamilton/Daily Citizen-News

There are more than 85 exhibitors at this year's Floor Tek Expo, which continues through Thursday at the Dalton Convention Center.

After looking at the costs, members of the Dalton Convention Center authority board have decided not to pursue a feasibility study for the possible addition of a hotel to the convention center property.

Margaret Thigpen, director of the convention center, said officials talked to two companies, "one from within this area and one that was not from within this area." The estimates they received for how much the study would cost ranged from $20,000 to $60,000.

"Based on those numbers, the board decided not to move forward," she said.

That means the convention center is not actively looking to attract a hotel to its property.

Whitfield County Board of Commissioners member Harold Brooker, a member of an ad hoc committee of city and county officials that was formed to look at the possibility of a hotel at the convention center, said the board made the right move.

"I'm not in favor of spending taxpayer money on these feasibility studies," he said.

The convention center is jointly funded by the City of Dalton and Whitfield County.

Hotelier and developer John Q. Hammons and the convention center authority board signed a letter of intent in 2008 to build a full-service Embassy Suites hotel at the convention center. Hammons pulled out of the deal later that year after the departure of convention center director Rick Tanner and after then-Gov. Sonny Perdue vetoed a bill that would have created tax credits for tourism-related projects such as the hotel.

"I'm not sure that if the governor had signed those tax credits we would have gotten a deal," said Dalton Mayor David Pennington, who was also mayor then. "That was a step we had to get past before we really started negotiating the deal, and normally those deals entail a lot of city tax money. I think the reason there is no hotel there is because no one thinks it would be financially viable."

Pennington said he would be opposed to the city subsidizing any hotel "unless it was a home run for the city."

"And I can't imagine what that would be," he said. "You've also got to remember it would put every other hotel in this city at a disadvantage if one got a special deal and they didn't."

In August of last year, then-Mayor Dennis Mock told City Council members he had been in talks with a Ringgold developer for a hotel on land near the convention center. Mock would not disclose the developer's name.

City Administrator Jason Parker said after the city received the inquiry regarding the hotel, City Council members agreed the convention center authority board should handle any talks about a hotel.

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