Tag: lccca series

2000-2001 Part III: Convention Center Authority doesn’t let history stand in the way …

The $15 million grant from the Commonwealth, and the revenue from the hotel room tax, provided the LCCCA with millions of dollars to defend the project in court, and to acquire property for the proposed development. After buying the Oblender furniture store and properties at 45-49 S. Queen Street and 21 and 23 E. Vine Street for about $1.3 million, the Authority found itself presented with another public relations predicament.

2000-2001: Bloody skirmishes; Thaddeus Stevens gets in the way; Part II

The bitter acrimony among the Lancaster citizenry that would mark the next decade of the convention center’s history began to show itself by the year 2000. Dozens of Lancaster County hotel and motel owners – who now paid a 5% tax for every room rented – filed a joint lawsuit against the project sponsors in March. Ron Harper, Jr., with his video camera, website, and indefatigable energy, was unleashed and asking uncomfortable questions to proponents of the project wherever he found them.

Chapter Twenty: To build or not to build?: New Mayor plays Hamlet

(Twentieth in a series) While the uncertainty of the convention center project did not affect the die-hard incumbent Republican Charlie Smthgall’s campaign for Mayor of Lancaster in 2005, it did influence his Democrat opponent, Rick Gray. Gray was a local defense and ACLU attorney with a reputation for representing the disreputable. The burly, goateed, bow-tied […]

Chapter Fifteen: Not Just an Act: The sweetheart deal of Act 23

With the RACL purchase of the Watt & Shand building, the city authority would now apply for state loans or bonds on two issues of $24 million and $12 million, totaling $36 million. The bonds for the $12 million issue would be funneled through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) under the Infrastructure and Facilities Improvement Program (IFIP), ratified in 1990.

Chapter Thirteen: Shellenberger and Henderson move into the crosshairs

The rejection by the Lancaster School Board of Penn Square Partners’ TIF proposal was understandably disappointing to project sponsors. They were used to getting what they asked for from governmental bodies. And while the funereal words they chose after the vote were, at best, disingenuous, no one could argue the sponsors didn’t have a reason to be upset.

Chapter Eleven: Ties that Bind: The old board shackles the new

Lancaster County Commissioners Paul Thibault and Ron Ford had very good reason for passing the controversial convention center county bond guaranty just before the midnight hour of their terms. The two lame duck commissioners who voted for the guaranty in the week before the November, 2003, general election were aware that if they didn’t get it done then, there would be no county guaranty under their successors.

Chapter Nine: “All out war”

Sponsors of the convention center and hotel project were riding waves of victory at the close of 2001 and the beginning of 2002. On September 12, 2001, decorum be damned, with bodies still smoldering beneath the rubble of the World Trade Center, the Lancaster County Convention Center Authority decided to hold its scheduled meeting to determine which firm would manage the public convention center.