After a number of calls inquiring about available event space, the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority is shifting the focus of the W.F. Wellman Exhibit Hall in the Indiana Welcome Center this year to hosting events like fundraising galas and the recent Fetching Market.
The gallery just off the Borman Expressway in Hammond will still host the popular annual “A Christmas Story” exhibition and a few other exhibits, but is being opened up for rentals by groups scrambling to find a new event venue this year.
It’s one of a number of venues that’s stepping up to fill the void created by the closure of the Radisson at Star Plaza in Merrillville, which had 30,000 square feet of meeting space and was widely considered Northwest Indiana’s premiere gathering spot. The hotel near the interchange of U.S. 30 and Interstate 65 is now fenced off and slated for demolition.
White Lodging will build a new hotel that will have between 16,000 square feet and 20,000 square feet for conferences, weddings, chamber of commerce galas and other events. But it won’t be open until 2018, leaving organizations scrambling to find new venues for their events.
LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau sales manager Rick Wright said more than eight conferences formerly held at the Radisson have moved to the Stardust Event Center at the Blue Chip Casino, in Michigan City. South Shore Arts Executive Director John M. Cain said more groups were booking events at The Center for Visual and Performing Arts in…
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