Northwest Indiana’s Proposed Convention Center May Lead to Tax Payers Having to Foot the Bill

I finally decided to write what I definitely know about. I’m concerned about The South Shores Convention and Visitors Bureau / Lake County Indiana’s Convention Bureau proposed plans….

Convention centers have become a go-to project for many communities, with the hopes of turning them into a hub of economic activity. However, many of these efforts have fallen short of expectations. While some cities have managed to create a thriving convention center business, others have struggled to draw in visitors, leaving them financially burdened, draining resources, and ultimately failing. Here are the top five reasons why communities are not successful with convention centers.

The Location Factor

Perhaps the most critical factor for success is the location of the convention center. If it’s situated in a remote location or outside the city center, it’s already at a disadvantage. Convention centers require good accessibility, transportation, and nearby amenities to succeed. This includes easy access to public transport, hotels, restaurants, and attractions. If visitors are having trouble getting to the center or find little to do within walking distance, it’s unlikely they will return.

Limited space

The size of a convention center determines its ability to accommodate visitors and events. Often communities are not successful with convention centers because they do not offer enough space or have limitations due to size. This restricts the community’s ability to attract large events, conferences, or trade shows that need more space. In these cases, event organizers will often look to bigger cities with larger venues to accommodate the event’s requirements.

Poor Management

Many convention centers that fail, do so because of poor management. The center may have started with a promising vision, but the management team fails to execute a well-thought-out and comprehensive plan. This can happen for several reasons; inadequate staffing, underfunding, or mismanagement of resources are a few examples. When convention centers are not managed correctly, this can lead to corruption, inefficiencies, and ultimately, financial failure.


Competition from other convention centers can also cause communities to fail in their efforts. Numerous cities have convention centers, and it’s easy for them to attract visitors to their events, especially if they have a well-established reputation. Cities must distinguish themselves if they intend to attract visitors and events. Doing so requires smart marketing, partnering with local businesses, and utilizing innovative technologies to differentiate themselves from competitors. Communities cannot count on visitors coming to them if they are not putting in the work to stand out from the crowd.

Overestimated Economic Benefits

Communities must be careful not to overestimate the economic benefits of a convention center. When this happens, it creates unrealistic expectations, leading to disappointment when the center fails to meet these expectations. Many communities tend to focus solely on the economic benefits of a convention center, such as job creation and increased tourism, while neglecting the necessary long-term planning essential to success. The center needs to be well-aligned with the community’s business and tourism objectives and must be managed effectively to turn revenue into economic benefits.

In conclusion, communities must continue to weigh the pros and cons of building convention centers before committing resources to these projects. Those who potentially undertake the endeavor must consider carefully critical factors like location, space, management capability, and competition, and not overestimate the potential benefits. With the necessary focus and strategic planning, communities can create successful convention centers that deliver lasting success. At its best, a convention center can act as a hub for driving economic prosperity and serving as a catalyst for positive community growth.

Here is a list of similar communities to Northwest Indiana that have failed with their efforts to produce a thriving convention center due to unrealistic forecasts of revenue and now the local taxpayers have to pay for it.

Branson, Missouri

Fargo, North Dakota

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Riverside, California

Hagerstown, Maryland

Peoria, Illinois

Rockford, Illinois

The British Spy I Met


British Spy

I was a young naive man who up until that moment when I met him, had no clue about the world beyond the sheltered life that I had lived. I was a bellman and shuttle driver at a hotel near the world’s busiest airport, Chicago’s O’Hare International. It was a slow Sunday and the hotel seemed to be very empty with little activity at all. A guest suddenly appeared and asked if I could get his package out of receiving and have it ready for him in an hour. Of course, I responded with an enthusiastic response with yes sir, right away. Of course, I was thinking “tip time,” that’s how we bellman made our living helping our guests with whatever they might need within our ability.

Little did I know that it was a slow day and all the managers had taken the day off after a hectic week and no one had a key to the receiving dock office. Frantic phone calls to said managers were to no avail either. As I pondered as to how to break into the locked room I had to proceed on my scheduled airport run to pick up incoming guests.

As a driver I loved interacting with guests finding anything out about them was always interesting and I was pretty good at starting conversations. I picked up only one guest on this particular run and he sounded like he had a British accent. I opened our conversation with how his day was going and he returned the question back to me. I have no idea as to why I would share the fact that I was about to face a very upset guest and didn’t know how to explain to that guest that I couldn’t help him. In giving this stranger a few more details he laughed it off, stating it sounds like something he would do and how many times he had locked himself out of his own house but had always found a way to get in. He offered to help me and not wanting him to get involved I somewhat said I’m sure we’ll get hold of someone with a key soon. We arrived at the hotel and he proceeded to check-in and I thought that would be the last of me seeing him. Five minutes later, he came back and said please, show me the room and maybe I can help you.

What possessed me I’ll never know, but I took this stranger to the back of the hotel and showed him the secure receiving door with its locked handle and deadbolt. He said this will be all right. Reaching into his inside jacket pocket he pulled out a lock picking set and quickly picked both locks without any issues. I know my mouth was hanging open and I was in shock. I looked into the room and discovered the box wasn’t even there, it was behind the front desk and no one had said anything. I stated, “what am I going to do with this open door”. He said, “it will be fine, I’ll lock them back for you”. Within seconds, this man had secured both locks and I turned to him and asked him politely, what he did for a living. He stated that he worked for the British Government, smiled and turned and walked away and I never saw him again. This was one of my first encounters with some very interesting people I have met over the years in my career in the hospitality industry.

My Daily Commute

Daily I drive through undulating curving acres upon acres of corn and soybean crops. I am greeted by a diversity of animal life from fox and fowl, possums and peacocks, equines and egrets, and hawks and hounds. It’s a calming effect on my soul as I prepare for what is to come. The open fields and forests slowly disappear and my lonely peaceful trek gives way to concrete lanes filled with modern chariots made of steel. The landscape begins changing to boxes upon boxes made of brick and mortar, covering the former hills and meadows into flat earth with increased production of boxes of grandiose proportions.

As I progress, the speed at which these modern chariots travel increases dramatically and you must keep pace or be swallowed or pushed aside by these chariots of fire spitting billows of pollution scarring the air before you. From breathing fresh air to sealing yourself in my own chariot I must ride.

Reaching my destination the boxes reach into the sky almost turning day into night. There are no paths of green, only sheets of rock covering the earth for people to walk. Rare blades of grass fight to find a crack to peer out from beneath only to be covered by local pets for their morning constitutional.

A commute of 44 miles into the concrete jungle to dim your light, drown out the silence, and restrict your breathing. Then turn around and do it day after day for over 20 years. Was it worth it?

Jake Our Little Golden Retriever

We had a Golden Retriever at home and she was the perfect dog. But we thought we should get a smaller lap dog for grandma. So we purchased Jake, a Shih Tzu but he was sick and we couldn’t take him for another week. We were told we could visit Jake every day if we wanted, he just couldn’t be near another dog until his medicine had taken effect. We did visit a couple of times during that week of waiting. Our family in a pet store is a dangerous thing with our love for pets we could have brought a dozen more animals home with us. When the day arrived, I had to work so the wife went to pick up Jake. I must preface this by letting you know that our golden retriever had absolutely bonded with the wife more than anyone else in the family. Also, our golden retriever was also a year and a half old now.

When she arrived at the pet shop they started to get Jake ready for his trip home. She decided to take a walk down the aisle past the other puppies. A brand new golden retriever puppy had just arrived and it took one look at her and went wild. It barked and barked like crazy. Of course, She wanted to see it and probably hold it but she held her resolve and kept walking. Another person was walking a few feet behind her and walked by the new puppy and the puppy didn’t even flinch. Absolute quiet, the puppy just laid there. The wife stayed out of sight and watched as several other people walked by and still no reaction from the puppy. So she decided to walk briefly in front of the puppy again. Sure enough, the puppy went crazy again. She walked one more time out of sight and the dog quieted down and several more people walked by again and nothing. She asked the store owner if she could see the puppy. Of course, they gladly obliged. It wasn’t even ten minutes after that point that my phone rang. Me being the dog lover that I was, what was I going to say. What I haven’t told you is that we bought our first dog, the other golden retriever at home, from the same pet store. The new golden puppy had the same mother as our first dog. They were sisters. How this dog knew and how it chose the wife I’ll never know.

So we ended up with the “Three Musketeers” with Jake the ShihTzu growing up thinking that he was a golden retriever and he could do anything the big dogs could do. He also fell madly in love with our second retriever and would not give up trying to figure how to mate with this dog that was five times his size. She tolerated him by letting him groom her every day that she was with us.

Today after eighteen years our third Golden Retriever “Jake”, went to be with Vegas and Mesa and I know he’s happy. Jake, you were a “Good Boy”

He Was A Good Man

My brother in law Wally has left this world due to COVID. I think at this point everyone knows someone who’s been affected by COVID. Wally didn’t even have a chance with this fight. He had just begun another round of Chemo which had weakened his immune system. I don’t know all the details but it seemed it took him in less than a week.

When I have been asked about my brother in law I have always responded that “He’s A Good Man.” I don’t say that very often. Hell, I don’t know if I consider myself a good man? It was a given that he was a very intelligent man. You see he was a jet mechanic. It takes a man with a lot of knowledge to be able to keep up in that field. Luckily, he got to retire a few years back and he and my sister were able to live a life that I was envious of. First, they had the small cottage house on the lake where the family was invited to visit them often. It was a relaxing environment sitting on the porch watching the boats or Loons go by.

They took their retirement a little further and built their own house in Northern Wisconsin near the Upper Peninsula. It seemed to me in the middle of nowhere. They were on the river in the middle of the woods with the abundance of animal life around them including the occasional bear dropping by. I was happy for my sister and Wally, that they had this opportunity to enjoy their life together. For me, life has gotten in the way of my ability to join them up there even though I knew I had an open invitation.

There is an unspoken challenge us guys have and Wally was one of the winners of it. You see among us guys it’s kind of an obsession to see who’s going to die with the most toys. More importantly, though, is actually using those toys. Wally did get to play with his toys and he actually knew how to use all of them. I know he enjoyed himself. I never had to worry about my sister as I had a brother who knew how to take care of things. He was a good man.