Leaders target where people stay on vacation

Pigeon Forge business leaders want to hone in on where people stay when using the city

LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is under construction (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Pigeon Forge business leaders want to hone in on where people stay when using the city's new multimillion dollar events center. Leaders have presented a plan to city commission that they say is currently in a conceptual stage.

The LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is a city-owned structure that will open in September 2013 adjacent to the city’s greenway, the Pigeon Forge Riverwalk. The central feature, a 100,000-square-foot clear-span exhibit hall, is perfect for large assembly events, trade shows and competitive events.

Business leaders have proposed a new housing bureau through the city that will help event organizers locate hotel properties in Pigeon Forge that will suite their needs.

"There's still a lot of moving parts," said Pigeon Forge Mayor David Wear.

Wear says the goal of the group will be to keep people staying in Pigeon Forge instead of other areas. He says the extra money can be used to help pay back the loans to build the center sooner.

"We we get those people here to book their events, their conferences at the LeConte Center, we want to make sure those folks look at the Pigeon Forge businesses first. Then anything spill over is fine. As long as they're staying in Sevier County," he said.

Wears says city commission is still looking over the concept and the hospitality association says they're waiting for a final approval from commission.

The National Quartet Convention just announced it will move to the new LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge when it opens in September of next year.

The $45 million center is currently on schedule and under budget.

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