Chapter News

Q4 2017 Around the Region

By:  Cheri D. Jones, CMP, The Roark Group

If you have events happening in your city, please email them to Cheri Jones, CMP at  We would love to highlight exciting things happening in your town. The information below is gathered from Chapter members, CVB websites, Meetings Today and Meeting Focus.

Arkansas – The Natural State

Bentonville – Bentonville looks forward to the development of The Momentary, an adaptive reuse project that will transform the decommissioned Kraft Foods Plant. It will be a contemporary arts venue located in downtown Bentonville’s Market District. The Momentary will be a cultural hub where inspiration brings together musicians, visuals artists and the entire community. The Momentary is expected to open in 2020.

The Westin Element hotel is expected to open February 2018. The 107-room boutique hotel is the first new hotel construction that Bentonville has seen since 2013. Element aims to be a modern, eco-friendly hotel with the perks of a short drive to Crystal Bridges, Walmart AMP and the University of Arkansas.

Rogers – New to the Rogers team is Luke Wiggins, Meetings & Conventions Sales Manager. Luke brings four years of experience in hotel sales and in a destination marketing organization prior to Visit Rogers. His experience serving on conference committees, large scale event planning, and as head of the Meet Kansas marketing coalition, make him an asset to the team, as well as meeting planners considering Rogers for their event.

Kansas – Sunflower State

Wichita – Unique aerospace and aviation exhibit opens in Wichita, the Air Capital of the World. Aerospace experts and resources in Wichita, the Air Capital of the World, have collaborated with the city’s premier science center, Exploration Place, to create the all-new permanent exhibit Design Build Fly. Wichita is known for its innovation and manufacturing aptitude, and now, the city will boast a $2 million exhibit that provides an up-close, behind-the-scenes, hands-on look at how airplanes are designed, built and flown. Learn more about Design Build Fly and Exploration Place, a premier venue to host your next meeting or convention.

Iowa – The Hawkeye State

Des Moines – The Hilton Des Moines Downtown will open March 21, 2018. The new, 330-room hotel will be attached to the Iowa Events Center and connected to the four-mile downtown skywalk system.

Sioux City – Sioux City’s newest all-season park! Located near the Lewis & Clark ball park, Cone Park offers a tubing hill, ice skating rink, an outdoor fire pit, and day lodge for warming, rentals, and concessions during the winter. The lodge will be used as a rental facility during the non-winter months and the ice skating rink will convert to a free public splash pad in the summer. A two-mile trail loop is also available connecting with Sertoma Park to the east.  

IA Tourism recently held their annual meeting at the Sioux City Convention Center.

Sioux City remains the host city for NAIA basketball and volleyball; 15 years and 10 years respectively.

Missouri – The Show Me State

Branson – Branson Zipline at Wolfe Creek Preserve will soon be home to a unique attraction this summer, a year-round snow tubing hill that will be the largest synthetic tubing hill in the U.S.

The zipline attraction just north of Branson on Hwy 65 is partnering with Briton Engineering Developments from the U.K. to bring the one-of-a-kind attraction to their complex that already includes eight zip lines, ten suspension bridges, a 40-foot and a 100-foot simulated free fall.

Briton Engineering will work with Combs Family Ventures, who owns and operates Branson Zipline at Wolfe Creek, to design and build the largest synthetic tubing run in the U.S. using the high-performance snow sports surface Snowflex®. Phase one of Snowflex® tubing will allow up to eight tubes to run down the slope simultaneously. The run is designed to give maximum thrills to all ages, in the beautiful setting of the Ozark Mountains.

Traditionally a winter activity, the Snowflex® tubing hill will also be available throughout the spring, summer and fall. 

Kansas City – Voters approved a new single terminal airport for Kansas City. In addition to producing billions of dollars in economic impact and supporting thousands of local jobs, the new terminal will offer a vastly improved experience complete with state-of-the-art amenities—and better serve as KC’s welcome mat for decades to come.

Nebraska – The Cornhusker State

Omaha – Work is currently underway to develop a plan that would transform Omaha’s riverfront. Amenities under consideration include restaurants, botanical gardens, boat rentals, a children’s museum overlooking the river, and a dual-purpose sports field, and event lawn big enough to fit 10,000 people. The proposed development would be within walking distance of Omaha’s downtown convention district, more than 3,000 downtown hotel rooms, and the Old Market Entertainment District.

Oklahoma – The Sooner State

Oklahoma City is in the midst of Downtown in December – a three-month celebration of the holidays, featuring everything from outdoor ice skating at the Myriad Botanical Gardens to snow tubing on manmade slopes inside the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The celebration will continue through January and many of the activities are free.

Also, Oklahoma City’s $287 million Convention Center is projected to break ground in early 2018. In addition, opening in 2018 is approximately six miles of modern streetcar, which will service the front of the convention center (and most of Downtown OKC) and the opening of the upper part of the 70-acre downtown park, Scissortail Park, which will be directly west of the new convention center. There’s a lot happening in Oklahoma City! For information on these updates and more go to

Tulsa – A project of George Kaiser Family Foundation, A Gathering Place for Tulsa, will transform nearly 100 acres of Tulsa’s waterfront along the Arkansas River into a dynamic and active space. A Gathering Place for Tulsa will blend nature with an urban setting, providing Tulsans and visitors more space to play, relax and gather together along the river. The park, centrally located, will include features such as a lodge, boathouse, nature walks, two land bridges connecting the two sides of river parks, sporting areas and a pond. A Gathering Place for Tulsa is the largest private gift to a public park in U.S. history. The $400-million park will open summer 2018.

Eric JacobsonQ4 2017 Around the Region