A community workshop will be held about the proposed event center and hotel at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Festival Hall, 5 5th St.

The city development department wants comments from the community on what activities, convention and events should happen at the facility. Officials plan to use the feedback gathered during the small group sessions as the project moves toward the next development phases.

“During the workshop, participants will gather in small groups to collectively discuss their ideas for general use of the event center, including recommendations they have for the types of sporting events, trade shows, musical talent, etc., they think would be a great addition to the Racine area,” according to a press release.

The Racine Common Council voted 10 to 5 in March in favor of spending $600,000 from its intergovernmental revenue fund to pay for the first phase of a $43 to $49 million downtown convention, events center and hotel project. That phase is expected to be completed in June, but has not received a final blessing from the Common Council.

The project includes a 130-room hotel, conference and meeting space, and a 3,000 to 5,000 seat multi-purpose event center. A USHL hockey team is expected to be its first tenant. It is expected to bring in 600 to 800 jobs, 50,000 new visitors to the city, and $322 million in new spending over the next 30 years. The hotel would be privately funded. But the event center will likely be — at least in part — a publicly funded project.

A group of concerned citizens hope to stop the city from using taxpayer money to fund the project by starting a petition.

They hope to collect signatures equal to 15 percent of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial race within the City of Racine. In this case, it would need to collect about 3,800 signatures.

The group hasn’t decided on what question they want to ask with regards to the arena. But once the question is asked and they receive enough signatures, the alderman would need to vote on whether to act on the question and stop the project, or put the question on the ballot for a city-wide vote.




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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.