Tourism Advisory Board forwards three applications to City Council

Three important applications for funds from the lodging tax fund were forwarded to City Council on Wednesday.

“This is a very well-prepared grant application,” said Economic Development/ Urban Renewal Director Cynthia Nieb at the meeting of the Tourism Advisory Board on Wednesday at noon. “Who prepared this?” The answers varied, from members of the Picketwire Players Board there to present their case for backing of the three-day Picketwire Players 50th Anniversary Celebration in July. The consensus was that Susie Sarlo was the lead, but everybody there chipped in to answer all the questions. Sarlo said, “It was easy, working from the information organized by Sharon Kolomitz.” The Picketwire Players group presenting their case were Malle Schindler, Helen Hollar, Sarlo, and Kolomitz.

Three different grant applications were considered on Wednesday at noon. The first was from Picketwire Players, asking $5,000 backing from the lodging tax fund for marketing the 50th Anniversary Celebration. The second was a request from the La Junta Tribune-Democrat for $1,500 to help offset the cost of printing the magazine-quality Tour Guide to be distributed throughout the region. The third was for advertising in the Triple A Encompass travel magazine, distributed nationally, for $2,200. All are over the minimal limit of $500 and are special cases, requiring a two-thirds majority of the City Council to vote in favor of them. Brochures are in process of being prepared, but have not yet been printed, to be displayed in welcome centers, travel depots, and airports throughout the region.

At the session of consideration after the presenters had left the meeting, Ron Davis had done some math. He considered the possibility of 450 rooms in local hotels occupied for three nights during the Picketwire Players 50th reunion celebration. Rooms have been booked in advance in three motels. People will be coming to reprise roles in past productions of the Picketwire. None of the funds requested were for food, although a beginning reception is planned. The money will go for printing, advertising, and commemorative tee shirts, which will be carried back and worn in many different parts of the country. He considered the program to be well worth the expense, since the people who provide the lodging tax will be primary beneficiaries. The city as a whole will benefit, also.

In the matter of the Tour Guide, Davis acknowledged the back page of the magazine-quality Tour Guide devoted to the tourism efforts of the City, included in the $1,500, is no small consideration. It is advisable to have the best quality paper and printing for the best results. Representative Tara Castaneda said arrangements have been made for a larger distribution in the area, with 20,000 copies printed.

TripleA Encompass is a nationally-distributed high quality magazine and the cost is reasonable, considering the quality and large distribution area.

All three projects will be recommended to the city council, and Davis said all three are qualified under the scope of the bylaws of the Tourism Advisory Board as legitimate expenses under the bylaws of the organization. All three will require passage by a two thirds majority of the city council.

Chairman John Yergert inquired about Economic Development/Urban Renewal Director Cynthia Nieb being considered as a voting member of the Tourism Advisory Board. Nieb declined the voting privileges in advance, as it would make the number of voting members even, and said, “I will be happy to be here at the meetings and participate, but would not like additional work.”

David Balicki was present to acknowledge the withdrawal of the Koshare Museum’s proposal to serve as a Welcome Center.