By Ryan Hill

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A pair of oversized scissors, a red ribbon, and plenty of patience all waiting for this day to come.

“It’s one of those things, on paper, it looks great but is it actually going to come into fruition. So, to be cutting the ribbon, to be welcoming back conventions is hugely satisfying,” said Mike Testa, president and CEO of Visit Sacramento.

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It’s been two and a half years since the expansion and renovations started at the Safe Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Sacramento.

A building mayor Darrell Steinberg said speaks for itself, being an economic draw for the region and the fact that construction continued during the pandemic, which brought conventions to a halt.

“It is a strong signal that this community, which has gone through a lot of hardship, just like the country, and continues to, is also incredibly resilient,” Steinberg said.

The business community around the convention center can’t wait to have those out-of-town visitors stop in for a visit.

“Very amazing, because some of our customers are from that part of our business. So from them not being there, kind of affected our business,” said Anita Gymr, manager at Crest Café.

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“I’m just going to remember back a couple years from now when all of that was going on. And it’s going to be a blast from the past and we’re so excited to get everybody back in here,” Joel Sigel, manager of Tequila Museo Mayahuel, said.

Testa said the impact of having the convention center back is felt far and wide across the region.

“It generates tens of millions of dollars. The city collects roughly $32 million in hotel taxes,” Testa said. “The seed of those taxes are convention business because they put that layer of business into hotels about three years in advance.”

Testa said that the first event slated to grace the floor of the reopened convention center is Sac Anime – happening Labor Day Weekend. Find more events here.

“I probably will not be donning any cosplay, but I might be here just to welcome people and say, ‘Thank you for coming to our city,’ ” Steinberg said.

Visit Sacramento said that restaurants tell the organization that business goes up by $40,000 when a three-day convention comes into town.

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The city estimates hotel room night occupancy to jump from 48% to 62% within 5 years.