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'Big guns' are in Vegas -- Cottage Grove wants to be, too

Officials at Cottage Grove City Hall have deemed a trip last month to a regional retail convention in Chicago a success. Now they're planning for another.

Economic Development Authority members on Tuesday began planning to send four city officials, including Mayor Myron Bailey, to the International Council of Shopping Center's Global Real Estate Convention in Las Vegas next May.

Last month, city officials attended the council's Chicago Deal Making Conference, meeting with roughly 40 retailers and commercial real estate brokers. Bailey said he and city staff have made follow-up contact with businesses interested in Cottage Grove and met with one business Tuesday.

The Las Vegas conference, though, is the International Council of Shopping Center's major gathering, where almost 30,000 business leaders, brokers and officials from cities nationwide gather. It's another opportunity, Bailey said, to lure commercial growth to Cottage Grove.

"A lot of the big, big guns" are registered for the Las Vegas conference, Bailey said, where attendance far outpaces the numbers at the smaller regional gathering in Chicago.

The cost of attending next year's Global Real Estate Convention will be less expensive than the closer Chicago gathering, according to figures provided in a memo at Tuesday's Economic Development Authority meeting.

Personnel, travel and convention costs topped $7,000 for the Oct. 28 to 30 Chicago trip. The city also spent $8,900 on materials -- most of which are reusable -- for the convention, like zip drives, banners, tote bags and Web page development.

The May 2010 Las Vegas convention would cost the city just more than $5,700.

Expenditures related to the convention costs are paid from the Economic Development Authority Fund made up of money contributed by local businesses.