County commissioners approve convention center expansion, announce naming of Todd Portune Hall

County commissioners approve convention center expansion, announce naming of Todd Portune Hall
A rendering of Todd Portune Hall in the expanded Sharonville Convention Center (Source: Hamilton County)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The exhibition hall in the Sharonville Convention Center will be renamed Todd Portune Hall once the center is expanded, officials announced in a release.

“It’s a fitting tribute to rename our exhibition hall after Todd,” Sharonville Mayor Kevin Hardman said. “He has been an unwavering champion of economic development projects like this throughout the county, and we appreciate his commitment and dedication to our community.”

Construction on the $17 million expansion is expected to begin next year following a vote to move forward by Hamilton County Commissioners Thursday evening.

The expansion will reportedly double the center’s exhibition space from 20,000 square feet to 40,000.

It will also add a ticket office, a kitchen, additional bathrooms and more storage space.

Convention center officials say the additional space and amenities will allow it to pursue business it couldn’t go after before, particularly conventions and events that are too small for the Duke Energy Convention Center.

“Supporting this expansion helps ensure job growth in the suburban areas of Hamilton County,” County Commissioner Stephanie Summerow Dumas said. “The more midsize conventions booked, the more tourism dollars are spent to support our visitors industry and local businesses.”

Construction costs will be split among the City of Sharonville and Hamilton County, per the Sharonville Cooperative Agreement. The county says its portion of the funds will come from the county hotel tax.

Longtime County Commissioner Portune has been at the forefront of efforts to expand the convention center, whose last expansion occurred in 2012. Officials say he worked with civic, business and political leaders to identify the expansion’s funding source.

He announced he would retire at the end of 2019.

“I am delighted to have supported this project every step of the way,” Portune said. “IT’s so timely with my retirement just around the corner, and I’m glad to be a part of making this project a relity for the City of Sharonville and Hamilton County.”

The Convention Facilities Authority will discuss and vote on the financing agreement on Dec. 6, officials say. The City of Sharonville will vote in mid-December.

With all approvals, a ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 2021.

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