Our Town York: New Convention Center

The York Chamber of Commerce says it's virtually unheard of for a private group to build a brand new building and then give it to a city.
But that's precisely what's happening at the crossroads of Highway 81 and Interstate 80.

Our Town York will soon be home to a sparkling new 8 million dollar convention center.

Kelly Holthus spearheaded the convention center construction. The president of Cornerstone Bank was interested in building a building that would catch people's attention as they entered York from the south, "Well, the thing that we wanted from the beginning was when someone would drive in from Highway 81 that they'd really see the building at it's best and there would be the 'wow' effect that we're looking for."

Drew Jensen is a York based contractor who envisions big things for this 40,000 square foot facility, "We're hoping that maybe we get some concerts and big events. I'm sure we're going to have a bunch of weddings in here and I think we could use the whole facility for a large convention center."

Since 1940, the City Auditorium has hosted most of the large events around York, Kelly thinks it's time for an alternative, "When we announced this a year ago in September, we had no idea what the reception would be...but it's been tremendous/ This is an 8.2 million dollar project and we've raised 7.2 million dollars already, so we have another million to raise. So if anyone wants to send in donations we still are accepting donations."

Kelly says the ability to raise 7 million dollars for this project speaks volumes about the community support, "To get a community behind something to that effect, that's a lot of money and they really got behind it and are supporting it and I think I'm just overwhelmed by the support."

Todd Kirshenbaum is with the York Chamber of Commerce and he says the new Holthus Convention Center has opened up a lot of new doors for the city, even 9 months before it opens, "Some of our local people that belong to state-wide organizations, they're saying, 'How can I bring this here?' and that was really unheard of that people would have that kind of pride to bring something here but they've seen this building being built and they're actually being pro-active saying, "How do I get my convention to come here to York."

As soon as the building is complete, Kelly and the Holthus family will turn the keys over to the city. And the chamber of commerce is planning on the convention center be ready to open in September because there are quite a few events already scheduled for October, November and December of 2014.

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