Bringing the Democratic National Convention to Charlotte

There is an effort underway to bring the Democratic National Convention to Charlotte in 2012 started (I believe) by Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem and Democratic National Committeewoman, Susan Burgess. Charlotte is a great city and it has a lot to offer. Cultural amenities, shopping and athletic events are spread throughout the entire city and reach into the county and out to surrounding counties. However, there is plenty to do in the center city area that is within walking distance of hotels and possible convention venues.

Hotel rooms and transportation might present some challenges. Unfortunately for something like this, they are big challenges. Fortunately, we've had an opportunity to prove that it is possible to pull off a very successful event just the way Charlotte is today. Just ask the CIAA. According to the CIAA web site their tournament attracts 180,000 to events and games. These aren't all people coming from outside the area. Many are local fans taking advantage of all the basketball games, parties, celebrations and festivities surrounding the tournament. The CIAA tournament is a boon to local businesses.

According to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA), the 2009 CIAA Tournament accounted for direct spending of $25.5 million and a total economic impact of $38.2* million over the five-day Tournament period. While the actual number of CIAA visitors was about the same as last year, median spending per person increased from $695 in 2008 to $760 in 2009, creating the increase in overall economic impact.

I've read that host cities spend a tremendous amount of money to set up for and host the convention. I've also read the economic impact more than makes up for it. According to the (PDF) city and county of Denver, there was an economic benefit of $153.9 million, and a regional economic impact of $266.1 million from the convention and its related activities. Probably the most important benefit to the city is that hosting the convention will establish Charlotte as a top destination city for conventions and other large events.

Let's look at a few of the features that would make Charlotte work as the location for the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

  • Our downtown area is more compact than Denver and the venues where I imagine convention events would be held are all walking distance for most individuals once you are downtown.
  • We have plenty of cultural offerings, restaurants and other amenities all located in the center city. I should mention, they are within walking distance of possible convention venues.
  • Shopping is a short bus or shuttle ride away in several different directions spanning out from the center city area. We might even have a light rail line convenient to Concord Mills by 2012.
  • The transit station is located near the heart of center city which will help quickly connect those folks staying outside of Charlotte to convention events. I should mention, possible convention venues and most cultural amenities and restaurants are walking distance from the transit station.
  • The old Charlotte Colliseum has been restored and sits next to Ovens Auditorium, both are excellent sites for concerts and other convention related activities. They are a very quick bus ride from center city.

This is a quick list. A very quick list. I haven't even mentioned the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Imaginon, Discovery Place or the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

Back to the hotel rooms, because I think most people will see this as the highest hurdle... On the information fact sheet for Denver's convention, the city claimed that only 17,200 of the metro area's 40,000 hotel rooms were being set aside for the convention. Charlotte has 4100 hotel rooms in the downtown area. There are approximately 31,345 in the Charlotte metro area. This is more than enough to house convention participants, media and other visitors. In Denver free shuttles were provided to convention participants staying outside the downtown area. I anticipate that would happen in almost any city that is home to the convention.

The more I think about it the more I feel that Charlotte has more to offer than Denver and you don't need a personal oxygen tent to carry around with you. If you are interested in following the progress of the effort to bring the DNCC to Charlotte, you can join the Facebook group. If you want to learn more about what Charlotte has to offer visitors to the city, check out this website.

Oh...and did I mention that Charlotte is a very walkable city?

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Susan's letter posted on the Facebook group

THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE WILL SEND REQUESTS FOR PROPOSALS IN EARLY 2010 TO SEVERAL CITIES ASKING ABOUT THEIR INTEREST IN HOSTING THE 2012 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION. A SITE SELECTION COMMITTEE WILL BE APPOINTED BY VIRGINIA GOV. TIM KAINE, CHAIRMAN OF THE DNC, WHO WILL MAKE THE DECISION IN 2010.

CHARLOTTE IS GOING FOR IT! WE BELIEVE WE ARE A STRATEGIC CHOICE - A SOUTHERN STATE THAT FLIPPED FROM RED TO BLUE IN THE 2008 PRESIDENTIAL RACE, NOT ONLY VOTING FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA, BUT OUSTING A REPUBLICAN US SENATOR AND ELECTING SEN. KAY HAGAN TO THE SEAT.

THE ADVANTAGES TO CHARLOTTE'S HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY ARE OBVIOUS, BUT OUR CITY WILL BENEFIT IN MANY MORE WAYS. THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL EXPOSURE WOULD BE ENORMOUS. THOUSANDS WILL BE ATTRACTED TO OUR GLEAMING CENTER CITY, VISITING OUR NEW CULTURAL FACILITIES, INCLUDING THE NASCAR HALL OF FAME.

HOSTING THE 2012 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION WOULD BE A BOOST TO OUR ENTIRE REGION. THE "HOTEL SHED" WILL INCLUDE CONCORD, LAKE NORMAN, SOUTHERN IREDELL COUNTY, GASTON COUNTY, UNION COUNTY AND YORK COUNTY, SC.

I HAVE ATTENDED THREE CONVENTIONS, AND I'M CONFIDENT CHARLOTTE CAN PROVIDE A SUPERIOR EXPERIENCE FOR ALL.

JOIN THE EFFORT. SHARE YOUR IDEAS. LET'S START A CONVERSATION ABOUT HOW WE MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

OBAMA 2012!

Susan Burgess
Mayor Pro Tem
Charlotte, NC
NC Committeewoman, Democratic National Committee



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Good conversation going on about this on Facebook

I know it is hard to talk about Charlotte's readiness for something like this when you aren't that familiar with Charlotte. Thanks for weighing in if you do know about the city.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I think Charlotte would be a great venue for the

Democratic National Convention. It is easy to get around uptown and there are all kinds of good restaurants and such.

Raleigh, with the new Convention Center wouldn't be a bad choice, either. Same thing regarding the downtown area, although Raleigh's is smaller.

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

Just a reminder of the 28

Just a reminder of the 28 cities invited in 2000 for the convention, they never even visited the Queen's City. The Convention hasn't been in the "South" since 1988, that's 20 years, and I think it is about time.

Charlotte has come a long way in 20 years

There are a lot of good things happening in my home town.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I think this is a great idea

and support it wholeheartedly.

Assuming, of course, that we elect Anthony Foxx in November to ensure that the money going in to this endeavor will be used to benefit the whole city of Charlotte and not just the banks and developers who are usually the recipients of much of the Queen City's political largess.

Yehaw Susan!

I'm sure that bipartisan boondoggle, the NASCAR HALL of FAME will tip the scale in Charlotte's favor! Other than that, I think it would be great to witness the demise of the Obamination in my home town!

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"I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose

2012 Primary Challenger For Obama?

If he keeps on like he is Obama is gonna face a primary challenge from the left in 2012

Grayson!

Heh.