Lufkin city leaders said they are missing out on several million dollars a year because the town is not convention-friendly.
The civic center is booked up for the next two years, but Mayor Jack Gorden said not with the kinds of business other towns are getting.
The city recently submitted an application for a $3 million grant. That money would be used to build a new state-of-the art convention center without burdening taxpayers.
The civic center is ideal for regional meetings, but not for out-of-town gatherings.
Mayor Gorden said, "The growth in our retail attracts meeting-type people. It gives them something to do when they're not in the meetings and them coming feeds that retail and the sales tax that helps draw them here in the first place. It's a multi-pronged approach."