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Chattanooga Convention Center Back on Track

By Brian Lazenby, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Oct. 22, 2009--The Chattanooga Convention Center is playing catch-up after getting the fiscal year off to a slow start.

Tim Riddle, executive director of the Convention Center, said September helped what was otherwise a very slow first quarter.

"I am finally glad to sit down and tell you about a great month," he said. "Based on July and August, it could have been much worse."

Records show that 40 events covering 66 event days in September generated gross revenue of about $496,000, which was nearly the July and August revenues combined. September's total is a 30 percent increase from the $380,000 generated in September 2008.

Jim Hudson III, chairman of the Carter Street Corp., the board governing the Convention Center, praised September's numbers and said the future is looking up.

"Our hope would be that the last two months would only be a blip on our financial statement, and based on what is booked, that might come true," he said.

Mike Shuford, assistant director of the Convention Center, said it is typical for the facility to be forced to play catch-up at the beginning of the fiscal year.

"Our fiscal year starts at our slowest time of year," Mr. Shuford said. "It is tough making it up."

Officials have scheduled a number of conventions for the coming months that could signal and end to the slow economic period.

Mr. Riddle said the economic impact for September was $3.1 million, bringing the year-to-date total to $5.6 million.


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