Texarkana Convention Center Showdown Ends in Dueling Developments

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012 12:00 am  

Harold Boldt, left, and Kenny Haskin said the planned water park on the Arkansas side will be a “game changer.” (Photo by Luke Jones)

The Texas side's convention center isn't as easily accessible from I-30, but it's close to Central Mall and Christus St. Michael Health System as well as several hotels and public parks.

Dougherty, developer of the Texas venue, distanced himself from the rivalry and said the competition would boost business on both sides.

"We've been in the hotel business a long time," Dougherty said. "We're good friends with Patel. We currently compete with his other hotels. There is competition there, but you have that in any city. Quite honestly, we don't see a dividing line."

He said about 120,000 people are scheduled to use the Texas convention center, and numerous events have already taken place since its opening.

"And competition is good," said Paul Contomanolis, general manager of the Texas convention center. "It makes us strive for a higher standard."

So will the demand in the area be able to sustain two convention centers?

Dougherty: "I hope so."

Haskin: "Oh, absolutely."

The city government on the Texas side chose to remain tight-lipped on the competition. Boldt said there's no ignoring it, though.

"There's always going to be a rivalry down here on the border. Big time."



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