Tourism rep stops in Celina

TALKING TOURISM-Sara Beth Urban (center), the middle Tennessee regional manager for the Tennessee Department of Tourism, recently met with community leaders at the Clay County Partnership Chamber of Commerce. Among the attendees were Chamber president Kevin Donaldson and marina association president Richard DeVries. (HORIZON staff photo by Bob Weaver)

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CELINA-Sara Beth Urban, the middle Tennessee regional manager for the state department of tourism, recently met with community leaders here at the office of the Clay County Partnership Chamber of Commerce.
Those in attendance discussed the various issues affecting tourism trade in the county, including improving marketing, downtown appearance, highway access, and popularity of Dale Hollow Lake.
Tourists spent a total of $6.94 million here in 2016 and Urban suggested that figure could be improved. She advised local businesses to improve their online presence with a website, a Google business places listing, Facebook, and a listing on, along with other online registries and directories.
Among the most discussed issues was a possible truck bypass route, which would divert highway 52 truck traffic from the square. Kathy Merrett, representing the local merchants association, stated the inconvenience of having trucks pass by the square during the several festivals and other events held there.
Celina mayor Joey Rich and others mentioned safety concerns created by trucks negotiating sharp turns along the current route.
Clay County mayor Dale Reagan said he and others had reached out to state representatives and department officials about the need for a bypass, and he was encouraged about progress being made in the lengthy process of getting a new route completed.
Marina association president Richard DeVries also spoke about and presented the marketing book the association prints each year promoting the lake and its associated businesses.
Others in attendance included local Tennessee Three Star leader Dr. Doug Young, curator of the Historic Clay County Courthouse Thomas Watson, and Chamber executive director Kevin Donaldson.

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