Groundbreaking ceremonies for a 105-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel at the Center for Rural Development will be held Friday, March 20, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Congressman Hal Rogers will be the principal speaker during a groundbreaking ceremony Friday, March 20 for a 105-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel adjacent to The Center for Rural Development. The event will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a kickoff program inside The Center, and ceremonial dirt will be shoveled outside at the hotel site on the north parking lot.

Scheduled for comments at the celebratory event are Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center; Glenn D. Higdon, CEO, and Claude Bacon, vice president, both of LinGate Hospitality, the hotel development company from Owensboro; Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler and Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley.

Courtyard by Marriott is a brand of hotels owned by Marriott International. The hotels are designed for business travelers but also accommodate families. The facilities’ rooms feature desks, couches, and free Internet access. The majority of locations have a bistro which serves breakfast (not free), appetizers, sandwiches, and more. All have 24-hour "mini-marts," according to Wikipedia. Courtyard by Marriott has nearly 1,000 hotels in 38 countries.

No local money is involved in the hotel project, Lawson said. The hotel will be financed by LinGate with tax incentives from Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority. 

The Center for Rural Development, brainchild of Congressman Rogers, was established in 1996. A nonprofit organization fueled by a mission to provide leadership that stimulates innovative and sustainable economic development probably has the best convention facilities between Lexington and Knoxville. It lacks only an adjacent hotel.  

It will take about a year to build the hotel, Lawson said. He expects the facility to open in Spring 2016. The hostelry structure will not be attached to The Center but separated 40 feet from the complex on the north parking lot.

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