Monday, August 18, 2014
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Tourism update: UOC, marketing, new director, money to Railsplitting Association

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[August 18, 2014]  LINCOLN - On Thursday evening, the board of the Logan County Tourism Bureau met for what will be their only meeting this month. Five members of the board were present with Darlene Begolka and Andy Anderson being absent for the evening.

New Executive Director on the way

The bureau had hired a new permanent, full-time executive director. Andi Hake said the person will be starting the first of September. She also advised that she will be sending out a press release introducing the new director in the near future.

UOC update

Tom O’Donohue offered an update on the Unified Organizations Committee saying that the votes for a new board of directors has been established. In all, there will be 48 voters who will decide on the seven member board of directors for the new unified organization.

O’Donohue said when the calculations were all completed 16 votes were delegated to communities outside of the city of Lincoln and included one vote given to the Logan County board. The Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce received 15 votes and the Tourism Bureau will have nine votes. The city of Lincoln received five votes and Main Street Lincoln was delegated three votes

Each voting entity will have until September 15 to select the person(s) who will represent them in the board selection process.

O’Donohue asked if the board could form their list. Those who committed to voting were Jean Bruner-Jachino, Kristi Powell, Andy Meister and Tom O’Donohue. With Anderson and Begolka absent for the evening, the board put their names on the list pending their consent. O’Donohue said that left possibly three voting spaces for tourism. He said those appointments would be made between now and the 15th.

Andi Hake also indicated there would be a press release coming out soon with an update on the UOC. (Note: The press release mentioned is in today’s edition of Lincoln Daily News.)

Marketing update

Jachino gave an update of the work in process by DCC Marketing, the firm hired to assist the bureau in the re-branding process. To date, a new logo has been selected.

Jachino offered up four samples of the official bureau stationary template, and the board made their selection.

She reported the new website for the bureau is under construction. The marketing firm has established a URL or browser address, and have created a site map. They are now ready to start loading information and photos onto the new site.

Jachino said the firm had requested one person to work with from the bureau in collecting photos and information. Hake said there was a part-time person who could get that started, but with a new executive director starting in September, that person would probably become the contact.

Bureau awards advertising funds for Railsplitting event

The group voted unanimously to award the Logan County Railsplitting Association $755 for advertising their annual Railsplitter Festival outside the Logan County area.

This will be the 44th year for the National Railsplitter in Lincoln. The dates for the event will be September 19, 20 and 21.

Bob Rankin of the association was on hand to discuss the request. He said the association is looking to finance advertising in the Peoria area and beyond, and will use the money for that purpose.

The Railsplitter is held the same weekend as the Route 66 Futbol Tournament.

Rankin was asked if his group cross promotes with the Futbol Club, and he said they did. He also noted that at the last event, held in 2012, there had been soccer attendees who also visited the festival.

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O’Donohue mentioned that the bureau prepares information bags for the Futbol, and would be happy to include a flyer about the festival. Rankin accepted that offer and said he would get materials to the bureau.

After Rankin had left, the group discussed the request before calling for a vote. Jachino noted that the festival does bring some overnight stays to the two motels in town she represents. The group concurred the request had been made for the appropriate reason according to new criteria set by the board. Therefore, when the vote was conducted, all members voted to support the festival with a $755 donation.

“No” to Grand Soiree

The board also considered a cash request from Lincoln College for the annual Grand Soiree held during the Alumni Homecoming weekend. The soiree was considered to be more part of a reunion than a tourist event, and the board decided not to grant the request. Hake mentioned that the bureau has in the past shown their support of the college through the purchase of tickets for this event. The group considered that would be sufficient again this year. The money raised from the sale of tickets goes to support of the Lincoln Heritage Museum.

Bureau will conduct business surveys after major events

During regular discussion, Hake said she had recently paid a visit to Paresh Patel, owner of the Lincoln Best Western. During their conversations, Patel had mentioned that other towns survey their hotels and motels after large events. She said the gist of the survey was to allow the businesses to report what the event had been like for them as far as stays. She said it was a “How did it go?” type questionnaire.

Jachino was asked if she had seen these surveys in other Hampton motels she works with, and she said she had. She was then asked if she could get a copy of a survey for the tourism bureau board to look at, and she said she would.

There was also a question as to whether the local survey should be designed to include restaurant owners as well. Most seemed to think that would be a good idea.

In other news

Hake reported the bureau now has the video footage taken by Michael Gowin of the “Mini Abe” visit earlier this spring. There is a good possibility the video(s) will be incorporated into the new website.

Hake reported the 2014 state grant final report has been completed and delivered to Springfield. The due date for the grant was the end of August, so she was pleased that it was finished early.

She is also working on the 2015 grant, and said there would be more discussion on that at a future meeting.

Comparing schedules for the next three to four weeks, it was decided the bureau will not have a board meeting on September 11th. The next scheduled meeting will be Tuesday, September 23.

At the end of the evening, an executive session was called, and the public was asked to exit the meeting with no expectation of any business being conducted after the closed session.


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