The Vinton County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is considering a plan to purchase the historic McArthur Hotel, and conducting a major renovation project there.

The hotel, which was built in 1839 and located across from the Vinton County Courthouse in downtown McArthur at the intersection of U.S. Route 50 and State Route 93, closed several years ago. The building is owned by Katie Madison who also ran a restaurant there called the Buzzard's Nest.

Vinton County Marketing Director Caleb Appleman told The Telegram on Wednesday, Oct. 8, “The project is a long-term one and is just in the beginning stages.” He did confirm that he and some CVB members toured the facility and plan to make an offer on the property. Appleman stated the project would follow the current boutique hotel movement underway in many small towns across America.

Recently, The Telegram recently published a story quoting Vinton County Auditor Cindy Waugh, who stated that the county had collected $140,000 in revenue from lodging taxes while Brown Township had collected $60,000 on its owns because its tourism tax was enacted before the county’s lodging tax. She estimates that $3.3 million of lodging revenue is generated in the county, mostly at the Ravenwood Castle and from cabin rentals. These figures would seem to show that a hotel development would be feasible from a business standpoint.

Appleman added the ultimate goal of the hotel project, if everything works out, is that the first floor would be renovated. It contains a dining room, bar and kitchen and an open-room area. Most likely, the county visitors’ center would be moved there as well. In the second phase of the project, the 16 upstairs rooms would be renovated and rented on a nightly or weekly basis. The CVB would also have to create a parking lot -- probably from the fenced-in area beside the hotel.

McArthur Mayor Steve Hammond told The Telegram he is supportive of the project and believes it is an economic driver.

"The project would be a wonderful addition to the village," said Hammond. “It would be a boost to tourism and would help several businesses in town.”

Appleman stated if the project moves forward, the CVB, a 501-3C non-profit organization, would release complete details on the renovation plans. The CVB maintains a website and Facebook page and working to promote tourism in the county.