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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Of suburbs and statelines

By Encaptured and courtesy Gastonia Convention Center

In the metro’s middle

The 50,000-square-foot Hurst Conference Center, 15 minutes from Fort Worth, Texas, and 30 minutes from Dallas, is closer to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport than anything in Dallas proper.

Since the it opened a little more than a year ago, the center’s become popular with local corporations that have multiple offices in the metro area and small associations, among others.

City owned and operated by VenuWorks, the center is part of a town center with shopping, restaurants, offices and, across the street, three limited-service hotels.

The facility’s good looks add to its appeal. A 13,000-square-foot entry space soars two stories and serves a range of purposes, from receptions and dinners to silent auctions and trade shows.

All meeting spaces, with the exception of a second-level boardroom, are on the main level. Meeting rooms flank two ends of the 13,797-square-foot ballroom; at the ballroom’s south end, the two meeting rooms are less businesslike, opening through sliding doors to a veranda.

Between them  is a patio, where a double-sided fireplace warms guests in the winter; needless to say, it is never used in the summer.

“We are hoping to get some misters so we can use the patio in early summer,” said Michelle Rutledge, sales assistant.

The other side of the fireplace opens into a seating area in the conference center.

“Last Friday, we had a group in that had their hors d’oeuvres in the area, then had dinner in a meeting room and came back to the area for a gift exchange,” said Rutledge.


Tinley Park center doubles

An expansion at the Tinley Park Convention Center, 37 miles southwest of Chicago, doubled the size of an existing convention center. Among the center’s selling points are an attached 202-room Holiday Inn, 1,500 free parking spaces, two Metra train stations five minutes away and 6,000 area hotel rooms for overflow. The Tinley Park expansion was completed in little more than a year, giving the center 58,000 square feet of exhibit space and up to 18 flexible meeting rooms that can range from 750 to 4,000 square feet.