National Association of Counties Conference Headed to Columbus in 2017

National Association of CountiesThe National Association of Counties (NACO) is bringing its national conference to the Columbus, Ohio in 2017, bringing an estimated 3,000 visitors and $9 million in economic impact to the home of the Buckeyes.

The conference will take place from July 21 through July 24, 2017 and will be based at the new Hilton Columbus Downtown and Hyatt Regency hotels, both of which are located near the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The conference is making its way back to Ohio for the first time in nearly 20 years.

The effect of political leaders from around the nation converging on Columbus should be significant, according to Experience Columbus CEO Paul Astleford.  Columbus beat out six other cities in the country for the ability to host the conference, he added. “I’d like for you to ask our competitors how big a coup this is,” Astleford told reporters.

A combination of a lot of different factors contributed to Columbus landing the conference. Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady worked with NACO’s Large Urban County Caucus to bring its 2013 conference to Columbus to show that the city could handle conferences of this magnitude. Franklin County Commissioners President Paula Brooks helped lead an effort to bid on the convention, and Athens County Commissioner Lenny Eliason sat as president of NACO in 2011.

Eliason stated that the bid got Columbus “on the dance floor”, and that he sealed the deal. He underscored that Columbus needs to serve as a good host if it hopes to keep drawing conventions and return trips from visitors. “It’s not the first 10,000 bed nights – it’s the next 10,000,” Eliason stated. The convention has chosen first-tier cities in the past, Astleford stated, like Denver, Chicago and Atlanta. “National meetings like NACO don’t just find their way to Columbus,” he said.

Source: Columbus Business First – NACO bringing 2017 convention to Columbus, with $9M estimated impact

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