July 2009:  "We are open for business." That is the message delivered by Dana Brown, Executive Director of the Hopkins County Convention Center to the Madisonville Rotary Club. 

Brown, a former Bowling Green police officer and mother of twin boys, has been working since April and has already booked many events for the next 18 months. "We have had several local mining companies schedule Christmas parties with us for this season." She said. "Before, they had to go out of town because there were limited facilities here." "We are also looking forward to hosting the next Rotary Auction" she added.

The two million dollar upgrade is owned by the Hopkins County Fair Board (a non profit corporation) and was paid in part by coal severance dollars. By using existing buildings on property already owned, a 27,000 square foot facility was created that would otherwise have cost millions more. ---Counties receive coal severance funds to build infrastructure and fund economic development projects. This helps prepare coal communities for the day when coal reserves are depleted. Brown thanked state representative Eddie Ballard for his assistance securing the funding.

Brown said that a second Grand Opening will be held the end of September to announce the name of the facility. In the meantime, she is now booking weddings, business meetings, and hosting other large events. "It is our goal to keep our event charges low to be a greater draw for tourism dollars for our area" Brown said. The tourism tax is 4% and the convention center gets 25% of the tax revenue to cover administration and operations of the center.

SOURCE: iSurfHopkins July 2009 Report.