Joint Tourism Commission Off To Great Start

From left, Gabe Uebel, Dan Stumph, Gene Wilhoit, Allison Pinkston, Jackson Horton, Marlene Yung

From left, Gabe Uebel, Dan Stumph, Gene Wilhoit, Allison Pinkston, Jackson Horton, Marlene Yung

The Lawrenceburg/Anderson County Joint Tourism Commission is off to a great start, holding its second official meeting last week.  The commission, which replaced the original tourism board as a joint venture from both the city and county governments, started the necessary groundwork needed to fully start the new commission.

One of the important topics discussed at the meeting was the initial funding for the commission.  According to Gabe Uebel, the county is currently holding $94,546.45 to be dispersed to the new commission.  The funding was from the original tourism board, which had accumulated that amount from the previous years of operation.

Gabe also explained that the city is currently holding around $12,000 which is from the occupancy tax at the hotel and bed and breakfasts for the year to date.  The city has also agreed to fund another $100,000 from its budget to the commission each year depending on their performance and need.  In total, Gabe estimates that the new commission will have around $250,000 when the rest of the occupancy tax is collected through the year.

Gabe, who was voted as chairman, along with Gene Wilhoit as treasurer and Marlene Yung as secretary, will be working on setting up proper bylaws for the new commission as well as planning an agenda as they move forward.  Gabe envisions the commission to be working with various interested people and organizations in the county to promote and create ways to attract visitors to the county.

One of these systems is setting up a grant structure for organizations to apply for funding on projects.  Similar to how the old tourism board helped with the Art Trail last year, he would like to setup applications and a process for organizations in the county to receive grants.  He would also like to look towards receiving grants as a way to secure another financial stream for the commission.

As part of reaching out, the commission was informed on three possible areas to help fund.  Gene Wilhoit discussed how the downtown merchants have formed a group to support each other and are looking at the possibility of installing a sign/map to point visitors to all the shops around the area.  Karine Maynard from Maynard Studios and the Art Trail asked about possible funding to help with print marketing for the Art Trail event.  Downtown Lawrenceburg KY was also present to discuss the possibility to save and move the Glensboro School to the downtown region as a way to draw more tourism downtown.

Interest has grown with the new commission, and Gabe reported a number of outside residents willing to help. In addition, City Clerk Robbie Hume offered to help with administration during the startup phase of the commission.

Gabe also reported a very strong community support for Anderson County’s Pride of the Counties booth at the Kentucky State Fair.  He said that 120 volunteers have signed up to help along with numerous businesses.  They have also been made a keystone member this year, where Kentucky Farm Bureau paid for half of the cost of the booth.

Three initial committees were also formed at the meeting.  Gene will be heading up the finance/bylaws committee, Dan Stumph will head the grants committee, and Allison Pinkston will direct the events committee.  Their next meeting, which will go into more details in forming a directive for the commission, will be held on September 20th, 10am, at Heaves to Betsy.

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Posted in Business & Government, Tourism.

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