Visit Sacramento and City of Sacramento officials, national elected officials, representatives of SAFE Credit Union and more were present on Thursday, June 3, for the ribbon-cutting of the new SAFE Credit Union Sacramento Convention Center.

Drawing such an expansive group of dignitaries to a ribbon-cutting ceremony during a pandemic signals just how important the opening of the building is to Sacramento, especially the economic recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sacramento’s $3 billion tourism economy is largely driven by conference and convention attendees who come into town, stay in our hotels, dine at our restaurants, shop in our stores and help create and sustain jobs while contributing to the region’s taxes to fund things like emergency services, parks and more.

Visit Sacramento has long trumpeted the importance of conventions to the local economy, but with SAFE Credit Union purchasing the naming rights to the convention center, the local financial institution is also investing in the future of Sacramento.

“The SAFE Credit Union Convention Center project is huge,” said Dave Roughton, President/CEO of SAFE Credit Union. “I don’t think I can overstate the impact that the new convention center will have by the ability to attract large conventions, bringing visitors and filling hotels, and taking advantage of the amazing farm-to-fork reputation in the region. It drives economic development and economic success for so many folks and businesses, and that turns into jobs.”

Convention Center Ribbon CuttingDave Roughton stands next to Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Mayor Darrell Steinberg at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new SAFE Credit Union Convention Center.

SAFE Credit Union is a community-based not-for-profit financial institution, and Roughton said that the institution can only be as strong as the community it serves, which is why SAFE invested in naming the convention center.

The credit union has been in the region for 81 years, with its headquarters in nearby Folsom and 20 other facilities throughout the Sacramento area.

“We are thrilled and very excited looking forward to the opening of the convention center and the economic success that comes from that,” Roughton continued. “It’s going to elevate the stature of Sacramento not only in our region but across the country. With this first-class facility, we now have the ability to handle some of the nation’s best conventions, and that’s a tremendous asset to the region.”

Visit Sacramento staff has spent the past few years singing the praises of the new center to meeting planners across the country, and the layout and flexibility of the new building allow the city to attract a wider range of conventions and, ultimately, bring more visitors to the city in addition to retaining conventions that have historically been economic drivers to the region, but were growing too large for the previous building to handle.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 shutdowns, government officials deemed the construction of the building an essential infrastructure project in a nod to its critical role in the economic recovery they foresaw the region needing to muster once the pandemic is over.

For Roughton, he said SAFE’s involvement is more than just a name - it’s a partnership, and as part of that, SAFE is working to offer a financial wellness program to city employees akin to the way it works with other entities in the region.