Granholm signs Cobo improvement bills

EAST LANSING, MI – Governor Granholm has signed legislation that will allow a regional authority to assume control over downtown Detroit's Cobo Hall convention center. That would clear the way for the authority to raise money to upgrade the facility, so it remains home to the North American International Auto Show.

Losing the auto show to another city, such as Chicago or New York, would mean losing millions of dollars in convention business, and a symbolic black eye to the region and to the state. Regional politics torpedoed previous deals to renovate Cobo, which is considered too small and too rundown.

The Detroit City Council's is expected to let the deal to lease the facility go forward. The tri-county authority would raise the money for Cobo improvements by levying hotel and liquor taxes.

Megan Brown is a spokeswoman for the Governor: "Renovating Cobo Center will help reinvigorate the city of Detroit," she says "and, in turn, the state of Michigan by ensuring that major events like the auto show stay in Detroit."

The authority is expected to assume control of Cobo on August 1.