Could NKY Convention Center Expand?

Jul 12, 2018

The Northern Kentucky Convention Center turns 20 this year and a study will look at whether it needs to be bigger. Eric Summe with the Convention and Visitors Bureau says there's been the assumption an expansion is needed, but the study will say definitively. He says it will also look at how big of an expansion would be needed.

"Both Lexington and Louisville have expanded their centers, and many destinations in this region have," he says. "You have to keep pace with what the competition is doing because you're all competing for the same groups, same conventions, same meetings."

He says some long-time conventions have outgrown the facility.

Conventions, Sports and Leisure, a Minneapolis-based consulting firm for visiting industries, will also look at how a Covington expansion could be paid for.

"The Commonwealth of Kentucky owns our convention center," Summe says. "If you look at the recent expansions of Lexington and Louisville, most of those were funded with an increase in lodging taxes. I would think that's a plausible thing to look at. But there are other funding options available, and that is partly what this study will hopefully unveil." 

Summe says the bureau will host town hall meetings to explain what the study is about and present the results when available.

"There's some other things going on in the city of Covington which really are major initiatives as well. I think most people are aware the IRS center's going to close at the end of 2019. That could have an impact on our study and our expansion."

He expects the study to last about 12 to 14 weeks.