Waco: Members sought for new convention center board

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Consulting group JLL held a meeting Tuesday to update the public on a study it has been conducting for the last 18 months into operations of the Waco Convention Center.

Daniel Fenton, Executive Director of JLL, talked about home many meetings he has had with stakeholders and city council members.

He talked about coming up with more efficient was to run the center.

He also opened up the application process for people wanting to serve on the center’s new board of directors.

It’s possibly the first step the council could take to sever ties with the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Convention Center and allow them to run as a nonprofit.

When asked what decision the council was leaning toward, Rusty Black, Interim Director for the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau said, “It’s a toss-up. I can't really answer that. I don't know. That's a part of what we're studying right now, the merits of both the not-for-profit as well as continuing operating as a city department.”

Whichever way the council decides, said the new board of directors comprised of seven members with business and tourism experience could make transitioning to a nonprofit easier.

“When where the other there is a new dynamic that would involve an empowered board that would be involved with sort of driving the future, regardless of which route is taken," Fenton said.

Unlike the current board which operates in an advisory capacity, this board would be more hands-on.

It would be in charge of overseeing the center’s budget, prioritizing recruiting events (ones that have the widest financial impact on the city), and coming up with best practices.

It’s not uncommon for convention centers to operate privately although they would be funding by site dollars and hotel-motel tax money.

Places such as Dallas and San Antonio have boasted about how the move has increased their budgets.

The new board is expected to be formed within the next 30 days.

The city council is expected to make a decision soon afterward.

To apply for a position on the board, contact city hall 254-750-5600.

Applicants must live in Waco or McLennan County.