WENATCHEE — The city will pay up to $100,000 to cover utility costs at the Wenatchee Convention Center through the end of this year.
Late last year, Coast Hospitality, which runs the Coast Hotel and manages the city-owned center next door, requested financial assistance to help cover fixed costs at the center because the COVID-19 pandemic had shuttered all convention activity and revenues.
The council voted Thursday to reimburse the company for water, sewer, natural gas, electric and telephone service costs at the center through Jan. 1, 2022, or $100,000, whichever comes first.
“From my perspective, the Coast Hotel runs our convention center for us,” Mayor Frank Kuntz said. “Obviously, there hasn’t been a convention for close to a year and there are ongoing utility costs. The hotel is doing its best to keep folks employed and people in rooms, but this is a burden on them financially.”
Kuntz said the city has the funds available and the convention center is an asset worth protecting.
“We need (The Coast Hotel) to be successful,” he said. “It is a good opportunity to partner with them and gives a little bit of money their way. It just seemed like the right thing to do. The convention center is an asset to the city, and hopefully, there are some conventions later in the year and they get back on their feet.”
To get reimbursement, Coast Hospitality will submit quarterly requests to the city. It will resume responsibility for the center’s utilities once the time or money thresholds are met.
The motion to change the management agreement was approved unanimously, with Councilwoman Linda Herald, who is the Convention Center’s sales director, recusing herself.
The city council meets at 5:15 p.m. Thursday for a work session on homeless housing and the city’s shoreline master plan. The meeting will be broadcast on the city’s YouTube channel “Wenatchee TV.”