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Dallas County elections: Dallas voters consider new convention center, Fair Park upgrades

The proposition asks voters to consider using a hotel tax to fund building a new convention center and renovating Fair Park.

DALLAS — Dallas voters considered Prop A on Election Day -- a city measure that proposed funding for the construction of a new convention center and renovations to Fair Park. 

Mayor Eric Johnson, speaking following the closing of the polls on Tuesday, said the city would be smart about how they deploy this potential new revenue stream, noting that the proposed projects would remain in oversight from the groundbreaking through the grand opening. 

"We're going to make sure the convention center in this city is first-rate, first-class, an internationally-recognized destination for our city," Johnson said. 

Johnson also said the funds would make Fair Park a place befitting for the City of Dallas. 

"We're going to make sure our Fair Park looks in every aspect like the crown jewel that it is," Johnson said. "Whether you voted for this or not, you are going to benefit from it." 

There is also still no concrete date as to when the proposed construction on the new convention center will start, but Johnson said he is hoping to start in the next couple of years if the bond passes.

“We have to get this right, this development has to be more than just a great venue for visitors to our city," Johnson said. "It has to transform this part of downtown and be some place that people who live here can take advantage of year round.”

City council voted 14-1 in February to move forward with the plan for a new convention center. The funding would come from bonds that are paid off using an increase in the Hotel Occupancy Tax or HOT, a way to target tourist dollars instead of increasing taxes on residents.

Johnson and other city leaders noted that the convention center has lost out on 948 events due to structural issues in the last 15 years and say Fair Park is falling apart as well.

The tax increase from 13% to 15% would raise $1.5 to $2 billion for the project, but critics note that there’s still no final price tag on just how much the convention center or improvements to Fair Park could cost.

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