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Dallas Moves Forward on Plans for a Convention Center Hotel

By BJ Austin, KERA News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-821553.mp3

Dallas, TX – The proposed Dallas Convention Center Hotel surged ahead at City Hall today. KERA's BJ Austin reports.

The Dallas City Council approved contracts with a developer to build it the downtown hotel, and an operator to run it. Councilmember Angela Hunt opposed the deals. She says City Hall should wait until the voters weigh-in on the May ballot.

Hunt: With 70 days until a referendum in which the residents of Dallas will have the opportunity to vote on whether they want a hotel that's publically funded, I am curious as to why there's a rush on this.

Mayor Tom Leppert did not answer the question, but did say it's time to build a convention center hotel after 25 years of discussion. He says the stakes are high.

Leppert: If Dallas is going to be competitive in an industry that generates 230 million dollars worth of taxes, it also provides services, jobs and opportunities for our people.

Hotel opponents say if voters reject a city-owned hotel, Dallas would, under law, have to cancel the project. Some at City Hall say the vote won't have any effect if construction has already begun.

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