The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday took several actions intended to enhance tourism and to support the expansion of the Infinite Energy Center, an important local amenity and regional tourist attraction.
For nearly 30 years the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau (GCVB), now known as Explore Gwinnett, has promoted Gwinnett County as a tourist destination. Commissioners formalized the relationship through an agreement appointing the organization as the County’s destination marketing organization. In exchange, the GCVB will receive a portion of the County’s hotel/motel tax for the purposes of promoting tourism, conventions and trade shows.
The move preceded another action amending the County’s hotel/motel tax rate to 8 percent. The new rate takes effect on Aug. 1, 2018. The last rate change occurred 18 years ago.
Two years ago the Board of Commissioners endorsed the master plan for the Infinite Energy Center campus. In addition, voters approved $67.34 million in 2017 SPLOST funding for expansion projects at the center.
In other action taken Tuesday, commissioners amended the operation and management agreement with the GCVB to manage the center’s expansion. They also approved a resolution authorizing and setting parameters for a bond issue to fund construction of a conference center, parking deck and other improvements on the campus. This is the first construction bond issue Gwinnett County has approved in nearly 10 years. Over the last decade, the County has focused on refunding and paying down debt. Staff anticipates returning to the commissioners in July with pricing results for the bonds.
Board Chairman Charlotte Nash said the Infinite Energy Center expansion is an exciting opportunity for Gwinnett County.
“I’m grateful for Explore Gwinnett’s efforts to promote tourism over the years and look forward to their plans for attracting even more visitors,” said Nash. “I’m grateful to Gwinnett voters for recognizing the ability of SPLOST to enhance our community’s quality of life. And I’m grateful to my fellow board members for their support of the center’s expansion for the future enjoyment of residents and visitors.”
According to Explore Gwinnett, the Infinite Energy Center provides $200 million in economic impact annually.