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CR Convention Center Spurs Business Growth

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--It's a big part of the face of downtown cedar rapids.

The U.S Cellular Center has brought countless visitors to the city in just a few months.

"We had an unbelievable fall. We had a lot of conventions. We had a lot of meetings we also had some concerts in the arena, said Bill Tirone director of sales and marketing.

As well as hosting sports events and other forms of entertainment, things that in turn spur growth for the neighboring Double tree Hotel.

"Typically they stay in the hotel because they are from out of town.  A lot of the people that are holding meetings in the convention center are from out of town, he said.

Tirone says that helps the community as a whole. When people come here for conventions, they stay at the double tree and nearby hotels, they also shop and dine in the city.

"All we have to do is look at the downtown and see new businesses that are coming in there and the new locally owned restaurants that are arriving, said Marilee Fowler, CEO and President of the Cedar Rapids Area Conventions and Visitors Bureau.

Marilee fowler is CEO of the cedar rapids area conventions and visitors bureau.

She says while it's still too early to give a specific number on just how much the center has brought in for the community, there's no denying its benefits.

"Right there is a reason why there will be offshoots of other private sector businesses to follow because you have a big facility like that, that's attracting visitors from all over the country, Fowler said.

The year is not over yet and the convention center already has 15 conventions booked for next year. They say they expect more will come.

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