Bell County Tourism Board approves restaurant tax money for new hotel project

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Plans for a new $14 million hotel and resort in Bell County are back on track.

Tuesday night, the new Bell County Tourism Board approved using restaurant tax dollars to help fund the Wasioto Hotel and Resort in Pineville.

"We're ecstatic that we've got the opportunity to potentially build this resort," said Bell County Judge-Executive Albey Brock.

Officials say around one million dollars from Pineville's restaurant tax is needed for the project.

Last month, the previous Tourism Board voted against using restaurant tax dollars for the project claiming it might not be legal.

Later, three tourism members who officials say did not meet the requirements to be on the board were replaced.

Tuesday night, the new board approved it in a 5-2 vote.

"This is not something we jumped haphazardly and made a decision. We did our research and looked at both sides of it. We believe everything is by the books and will provide great opportunities for Bell County, Southeast Kentucky," said Jon Grace, one of the new Tourism Board members.

The resort with 100 hotel rooms, a conference center, and restaurant will go on 25E where the Division of Forestry office is now. The construction plan includes moving the forestry office to a new location.

Officials say just because the restaurant tax dollars are approved does not mean construction will start soon. They say there is a long way to go to get it built.

"Timeline is hard to predict. There's a lot of t's and i's that have to be crossed," said Brock.

Officials say once started, the project will create 150 construction jobs and then 80 permanent jobs in the resort.

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