Biden's hometown gets boost from DNC, as Milwaukee accepts lost revenue impact

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MILWAUKEE/WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS 58) -- It’s the Democratic National Convention that was, but really wasn't, in Milwaukee.

Instead, presidential hopeful Joe Biden picked his hometown to accept the Democratic nomination on Thursday, Aug. 20.

Fireworks should have been seen over Lake Michigan Thursday night.

But instead they were seen in Wilmington, Delaware.

“It brought a feeling of excitement," said Jennifer Boes, director of media relations for the Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau.

It also brought a major boost to the city.

“We estimate that we got 3,000 room nights over the four days that the convention was here," she added.

Wilmington did not bid to host the DNC, but got it by 'pandemic default'.

The city’s mayor said he’s grateful.

“We spent a million dollars over the past year trying to rebrand our city and this did a better job of rebranding us than anything else," Mayor Mike Purzycki said.

VISIT Milwaukee said the Brew City earned revenues of $3 million during the convention.

It’s far less than the $200 million projected, and a gut punch in helping revive the city from the economic effects of COVID-19.

Milwaukee hospitality group Stand Eat Drink was forced to cancel more than a dozen DNC events.

“It’s really disappointing to miss the opportunity that would have been able to save a lot of these restaurants," Taylor Gillen, of Stand Eat Drink Hospitality Group, said.

True, Wilmington is benefiting now but the city’s mayor backs the power of voters in the Badger State.

“Delaware is going to be Democratic. Delaware is going to vote for Joe. We need Wisconsin.”

As for Milwaukee’s future, those at VISIT Milwaukee say now is the time to refocus on the city's upward turn.

"Now the real work begins - capitalizing on this opportunity to grow Milwaukee's economy long term by bringing more business, convention and leisure travel to the destination!" wrote Kristin Settle, senior director of communications at VISIT Milwaukee, to CBS 58.


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