Apart from politics, other major conventions come to the MKE
MILWAUKEE — It’s been three years since Cru last held its staff convention, which usually takes place every two years.
The COVID-19 pandemic cut the band’s convention schedule by a year.
Cru is “a faith-based organization that is truly passionate about connecting people to the love of Jesus,” said Paul Alexander, national director of information and operations for Cru.
Alexander said Cru has nearly 5,000 staff attending different trainings and meetings over the next week, and with those staff come nearly 1,800 children.
They needed to find a family-friendly city for this year’s convention — the first time it wasn’t on a college campus.
“We’ve actually been in Colorado for our conference for many years, and when we went to look for a new location, we were really concerned about what was a family-friendly location that had the kind of facilities we needed for the various programs that we run here in the city,” Alexander said.
They ultimately chose Milwaukee.
The convention hosts events at the Wisconsin Center, Miller High Life Theater and Panther Arena throughout the week. There is enough space at local schools and colleges in the Milwaukee area for children to be bussed there for their programs as well, and Alexander felt the area was relatively safe.
“It’s just a big culture here in Milwaukee, and we’re excited to be here.”
The Cru convention has attendees staying at 30 hotels in Milwaukee County. It is an example of how large conventions can be held in the city, which continues to work to attract these types of events.
Peggy Williams-Smith of VISIT Milwaukee discussed it Friday, when the announcement was made that the city was set to become the host of the 2024 Republican National Convention.
“We have enough hotel rooms to handle large conventions,” Williams-Smith said. “We have added inventory since [Democratic National Committee] Booked here in 2019 for the 2020 convention so we have enough hotel rooms at this time. Obviously, with the expansion of the convention center, we hope to attract even more people so that developers can consider Milwaukee as a place to develop more hotels.
While Alexander said he doesn’t know where the Cru 2024 convention will be held, Milwaukee and its amenities won him over.
“Yeah, Milwaukee will definitely be one of the locations we would consider for a future event.”
That’s what’s important to Milwaukee—attracting conventions outside of national political parties—that can return more often and bring more economic revenue to the city year after year.
The GOP leadership will meet in August to finalize the host city decision. If Milwaukee is the final choice, VISIT Milwaukee expects RNC 2024 to generate up to $200 million in economic impact for the region.