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Editorial: Convention center will fill major gap in local economy

August 11, 2003

Here's a tip of the hat to local doctors Madar Bux, Anjum Bux, Arthur Rivard and Thomas Serey who've taken on the job of developing a convention and conference center in the old Lowe's building off Perryville Road and the Danville Bypass.

The opening of a convention center will fill what has been a substantial gap in what the community can offer to both local and outside organizations and industries. If successful, the center will provide a substantial boost to the local economy in terms of both jobs at the center itself and the amount of money convention-goers would spend in the community.

While Danville lacks the kind of large hotel that gives big cities an edge in the convention business, that drawback could be overcome by using shuttle buses to move convention-goers to and from the more than 400 motel rooms in Boyle County and another over 400 just down the road in Mercer County. Furthermore, the more laidback atmosphere of this area might well provide a welcome respite for people accustomed to doing their conventioning in larger towns.

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And the convention center will be centrally located to plenty of entertainment options. In addition to the movie theaters, restaurant and spa that will be available in the same building as the convention center, Millennium Park is only a stone's throw away, Perryville Battlefield is just down the road, the McDowell Wellness Center is nearly next door, and several public golf courses are within easy driving - or shuttling - distance from the convention center site.

Madar Bux and his wife, Shakeela, also a physician, spoke last week of the convention center as an opportunity to "give back" something to their adopted community, and giving back they are. Most previous discussion of a convention center has mentioned the use of public funds. Funding a center that way would have put the risk of failure on local taxpayers.

With last week's announcement, the Buxes and their fellow investors have taken on the considerable risk any such enterprise entails. They've purchased the building and are investing $1 million in its renovation. That's a nice gift to this community, and they deserve a hearty round of applause for taking on this venture.

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