At the beginning of the meeting, board president Charlie Ott told
the group that the tourism bureau would be going forward as usual,
with its funding coming from the city effective Dec. 1.
month's meeting of the bureau, there has been some discussion
between city of Lincoln officials and tourism officials, and the two
entities appear to have worked out some of their issues as they move
toward the Dec. 1 deadline for the city to take over the hotel-motel
tax from the county.
Ott said one thing that isn't going to change is the name of the
bureau. Because of some of the grants the tourism bureau receives,
it will continue to be a countywide program, and the words "Logan
County" will remain in the name. The bureau will also continue to
support the entire county in tourism efforts.
Installation of new board members will be put on hold until
December. Andy Anderson, who is the liaison representing the county,
told the board that right now requests to approve new board members
should be submitted to the county, but the county has decided it
will not approve any new members this close to the transition date.
The first order of business for the board was to review and
approve or deny financial requests heard during the September
At the September meeting, Tom Leesman and Mary Ellen Martin had
been on hand to request cash for a square dance convention slated to
take place in Lincoln in 2015. Phyllis Beccue had also come before
the board with a request for cash for the Christmas on Vinegar Hill
in Mount Pulaski as well as a request for assistance with the
Christmas tree fundraiser by the Mount Pulaski Courthouse
Foundation, a first-time event this year.
The board reviewed all the requests and discussed them
individually before making motions and taking votes on how to
In the request from the LinPro Dance Club, the board labored over
how the money would be used if granted. It was discussed that the
role of the tourism bureau is not to give financial support to the
actual event, but rather to give assistance in promoting and
advertising the event.
For a period of time it was unclear what the club wanted the
money for. During their appearance the month before, Leesman had
talked about the need to rent the Lincoln Park District building for
the event at a cost of $600.
This week, the board discussed whether or not the request had
been for money to pay that rent. In the end they decided they would
support the group by providing $400. They drew this number from the
request document where it said that promoting the event in local
advertisements, books and websites would cost approximately $400.
The board noted that this was a multiple-day event, which would
equate to heads in beds in local motels.
The request for $400 for Vinegar Hill was a much easier decision.
During her presentation, Beccue had told the board that the Vinegar
Hill committee wanted to expand advertising with additional
television spots by a Decatur station. Because the request was
clearly for advertising, the board approved it with little
The second Beccue request, for assistance for the courthouse
fundraiser, brought on quite a bit of discussion among the board
Anderson said that in this request, he was not all that sure the
fundraiser would actually promote tourism in Logan County. The
trees, which are to be 18 to 24 inches tall, will be decorated and
placed on display in the courthouse between Nov. 7 and Dec. 7. They
are to be auctioned off Dec. 7, with the proceeds going to the
Barbara Stroud-Borth sits on the tourism board and also assists
with the courthouse foundation. Gail Sasse, tourism vice president,
asked who was providing the trees to be auctioned. Stroud-Borth said
many of the trees had been purchased through the courthouse
foundation by local businesses, schools and individuals. Those
entities would decorate the trees and donate them back to the
foundation for the auction.
Stroud-Borth said the event would include a reception with
portrayers of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln as special guests.
Anderson still felt that granting money to this particular event
was a stretch of the intended purpose of the tourism bureau.
Board member Ron Keller spoke up, saying that he seemed to recall
that there had been some type of festival of trees at the Logan
County Courthouse in the past. In that instance, the tourism bureau
had donated an item to be sold instead of giving money.
Sasse remembered that and said the bureau had created a wreath
that represented tourism in Logan County. Keller said he thought
that would be a good compromise in this situation. It would show
that the board supports the efforts of the foundation but doesn't
cross the line on the intended purpose of tourism dollars.
In the end, the group agreed to authorize Nancy Saul, who is
employed by the tourism bureau, to spend up to $150 to create an
item to donate to the foundation.
Looking at new business, the board reviewed a request from the
Heritage In Flight Museum, but decided to table it because there was
not enough information in the request for the board to make an
[to top of second column]
Gillette Ransom was on hand to ask if the Elkhart Historical
Society could use the bureau's bulk postage permit for their annual
membership drive mailing. She told the board the society would bear
all the costs involved in mailing out their letters, but using the
tourism permit would save her group money. It was agreed that the
society could use tourism's permit.
A request for $1,000 for the Route 66 Association of Illinois was
tabled for the time being. Saul suggested that the board might want
to wait and see if the motor tour is planning a stay-over in Lincoln
again next year. In the last couple of years, the tour has come into
Lincoln, held their banquets at the Lincoln College, stayed the
night and left town the next day. Saul said at this time the group
has not decided if they will stay over in Lincoln next year.
The tourism board all agreed with Saul that they would wait to
see what the stay-over plans are for next year.
Bill Donath and Mary Ellen Martin were on hand representing the
statue committee of the Logan County Genealogical & Historical
Society. Donath addressed the board, defining the society's plan to
raise $48,000 for a new statue on the courthouse lawn.
Donath brought with him a photo of the replica statue currently
being sold. He said the committee will commission 30 of these
statues, then break the mold. To date, 10 have been sold and 10 are
on order. The statues will bring in a net profit of approximately
$30,000 toward the life-size version. The committee is also working
on other fundraising efforts, including a statue ornament that will
go on sale to the public in the near future.
Donath said that when the Civil War statue was being planned, the
county had donated $10,000 for the statue. He said it was his
understanding that the money had been given from tourism funds, so
considering the changes taking place, the committee had decided this
time to go straight to the tourism board with their request for
Donath said the committee is hoping to have funding put together
so that the new statue can be erected and unveiled in October of
Keller asked if the statue was going to have any plaques
recognizing donors. Donath said the committee was planning to have
signage similar to that at the Civil War statue with information
about the statue and a list of donors.
The board agreed that this was a decision they didn't want to
make prior to the Dec. 1 transition. Martin and Donath were told
they would hear from the board at a later date.
However, after the committee representatives had left, the
question came up as to whether or not the county actually used
tourism dollars to support the completion of the Civil War statue.
Anderson said he felt this was not the case, and that there may be a
misunderstanding of where those funds came from that needs to be
In other business, Leslie Hoefle is officially no longer the
interim director for the tourism bureau. Ott told the board that
Hoefle has agreed to come back after her vacation and work part time
for the bureau, but she does not want to maintain the director
Keller said the board needed to address that, as a full-time
director is required as a stipulation of tourism grant funds.
Anderson reported that there is a committee getting ready to
restart the search for a permanent director. He said that recently
he and tourism board members Andy Meister and Darlene Begolka had
met with Mayor Keith Snyder and Alderman Tom O'Donohue and started
outlining the parameters of the next search. He said the group had
decided not to advertise in the Chicago or St. Louis areas. They
will do local advertising and also use trade magazines and tourism
websites throughout the region.
Saul also reported that there have been several visits in the
last month to the Logan County geocaching sites. She read aloud one
note that had been left at the site in Atlanta. The person writing
said they lived not all that far away but had never visited Atlanta.
The note expressed appreciation for the geocaching project.
The group talked about using off-site storage for some of the
bulky items that are taking up space in the tourism office. They
agreed to use Midwest Records Storage for 22 boxes of records
currently in the director's office. Several bulky items have been
brought to the bureau from The Mill on Route 66. It was discussed
whether or not to rent a storage facility for some of those things.
The board decided to wait and see if getting the boxes out of the
building would add storage space for other items. In addition, it
was discussed that a new director might take stock of what is there
and decide if it is needed.
All votes for the evening were passed unanimously with the
exception of the decision to support the Mount Pulaski Courthouse
Foundation. In that vote, Stroud-Borth abstained because she is
involved with the foundation.
The next meeting of the tourism bureau board will take place on
[By NILA SMITH]