Republican Convention would be $150M bonanza for Greater Cincinnati economy, local party head says

CINCINNATI - The Queen City tried for the Summer Olympics, hosted the World Choir Games and is getting baseball's All-Star Game in 2015.
    
So, why not the Republican National Convention in 2016?

Local party leaders are just back from meeting GOP officials in Washington and are excited about the possibilities.

No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. That's key for local Republicans as they finalize their bid to hold the convention at US Bank Arena.

Alex Triantafilou stood in front of the Riverside-Delhi Kiwanis Cub Tuesday and gave members a briefing on the convention effort.

The Hamilton County party chairman admitted he was skeptical at first until meeting with local convention planners.

"They took a look at it and came back and said we can do this," Triantafilou said.

That energized Triantafilou enough to get to work on the bid.

"It would bring in $150 million or more in revenue for this town. It would fill our hotels. It would fill our restaurants for a week," he said.

Up to 50,000 people could attend, filling 15,000 hotel rooms in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
   
One blue sky idea for convention sessions was to put a tent over Paul Brown Stadium.

"That's just not something I think is going to be part of our proposal," Triantafilou said. "We think that US Bank Arena is the right place for this convention to be held."

Restaurants and suites at Great American Ball Park would be used for entertaining.

The Banks will be more fully developed by then.
  
Delegates and attendees could take riverboat cruises.

Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann said the biggest challenge is fund raising.

"We've got raise over $50 million to do this.  We're playing with the big boys here.  But I think it's a good opportunity to showcase what we've got," Hartmann said.

Triantafilou told Kiwanis members nothing ventured, nothing gained.

"We think we have a great story to tell about our location," Triantafilou said.

Members gave the plan a thumbs up.

"We would love to share our city and its convenience to everything and its wonderful values that we have here," said Marty Schultes.

 "To bring them into the city and show them our values, our commitment to God, to the country and to everyone, is just ideal," said Fran Rappoport.

It won't be easy. There are 31 cities bidding, including Columbus, Cleveland and Kansas City.

The proposal is due in two weeks.
    
The local GOP team gets one hour to make its pitch on March 3 and then the whittling down begins.

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