(FOX19) - Cincinnati is a step closer to hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention.
A Republican National Committee panel on Wednesday selected Cincinnati and five other cities to move forward in the bidding process. The others still competing for the convention are Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Mo. and Las Vegas. Phoenix and Columbus were eliminated.
RNC staff will visit Cincinnati as the next step in the selection process, a move Cincinnati Council member Amy Murray says city leaders are thrilled about.
"For Cincinnati, you have to see our town, feel it, walk around and see the enthusiasm."
Murray says the site visit will highlight Cincinnati as a "walkable" city.
"Many other cities you would have to take public transportation to get to the convention site," explained Murray. She said that 40% of guests could walk to the convention, proposed to be at US Bank Arena, from their hotels.
Ohio GOP chairman Matt Borges congratulated Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus for their hard work preparing bids.
"It speaks volumes about our state that we are home to three world-class cities that were able to submit competitive bids to host the 2016 Republican National Convention," he said. "Ohio is now the only state with two cities advancing as potential host cities. We will do everything we can to support Cincinnati's and Cleveland's bids for the convention."
Columbus is also bidding to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
It is estimated that the convention will draw more than 50,000 people to the Cincinnati area, pumping more that $200 million into the local economy.
"This city will shine. We want these dollars. We want this investment and we are excited as all can be," says Mayor John Cranley.
Here are the next steps in the process:
April / May: Small team of RNC staff will conduct technical visits.
May 6-10: RNC spring meeting in Memphis, Tenn. No announcements will be made in Memphis.
Mid May: RNC site selection committee will vote to further narrow the field and determine which cities will receive official site visits from the full committee.
May / June: Full RNC site selection committee and RNC delegation will make official city visits.
June/July/August: Further cuts are possible, initial negotiations with final city or cities to begin.
Late summer/fall: Final convention city will be voted on by full RNC governing body.