City officials and the Development Association are joining forces to determine the feasibility of building a convention center in Superior.
The city council approved a contract with Conventions, Sports and Leisure International to conduct the feasibility study at its meeting Tuesday, Aug. 17. Cost for the $58,500 study will be equally shared by the city through its economic development fund and the Development Association.
In late June, officials issued a request for proposals for the study and received five responses.
While Conventions, Sports and Leisure International was the second-highest bidder, one of the aspects that set them apart from the others was the collaboration with the local LHB office, according to a memo by Jason Serck, economic development, port and planning director.
Proposals and qualifications were reviewed by Mayor Jim Paine, Serck and Development Association Director Jim Caesar for process, scale of previous projects, experience and familiarity of the region.
Caesar said one of the things he liked about the company was their work on the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minnesota. The Development Association is helping to fund the study because a convention center in Superior could be a good investment, he said.
While the exact location where a convention center could be built hasn’t been determined, Caesar said current thinking is it would take advantage of the waterfront in the north or northwest segments of the city.
The goal would be to develop a convention center that would accommodate about 1,000 guests; offer two additional sheets of ice in the city that could also be used for expo space; and create an arena for entertainment.
Many Wisconsin conventions go elsewhere in the state because Superior doesn’t have a venue that meets their needs and going to the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center isn’t an option they chose, Caesar said.