Aaron Fullan called the meeting to order.
All Committee members were present.
Updates were provided by Committee members:
Barb Mask continues to accommodate information and research requests at the Martin House. Otherwise, the museum is closed.
Jude Holesinger informed the Committee that the windmill continues to grind multiple grain varieties for purchase (shipping available as well). Jude restocks the windmill’s outdoor brochure rack as needed. Much to the delight of the community, the windmill was decorated in time for Christmas. The Millers haven’t met for quite some time due to COVID-19 and the Educators have postponed all classes until the fall. Damaged light atop the windmill’s viewing deck still has not been fixed or replaced.
The Cultural Center remains closed for the time being. Neal Luker informed the Committee that the freezer behind the center will soon be replaced with a new one.
Brian Tomman updated the Committee about the vandalism that took place at Heritage Canyon before the Christmas Walk. He would like the city to consider potential security measures. Brian also asked the Committee about the plausibility of the annual Bluegrass Festival at Heritage Canyon. Most seemed to agree that an outdoor event like that would be doable.
Kyle Kopf told the Committee that the Andreson Nature Center remains mostly inactive. A group of YWCA campers were scheduled to visit the center, but they had to cancel when the number of campers grew beyond the recommended limit. Kyle also mentioned that the woodland pathway he’s hoping to connect to the Reagan burial site was met with approval by Chuck Dykstra and Kiwanis.
Paula Ensinger informed the Committee that downtown remains quiet for the most part. A new tobacco/marijuana/exotic meats business is moving in downtown. Paula also expressed some frustration regarding the plowing of downtown’s streets (and lack thereof).
Carol Fritz announced that the American Crafters will be meeting at the Andreson Nature Center next week.
The House Decoration Contest was declared a success by all Committee members (as well as citizens!) and a great way to bring some light (literally and figuratively) to the close of a difficult year. It was suggested that a possible “Honorable Mention” award be included in the future. The jurors agreed that judging and determining winners via email was overly complicated; meeting in person would be much preferred. There was also some disappointment expressed about the lack of local press covering the contest winners and a desire to see that improved in 2021 and beyond.
The Heritage Canyon Christmas Walk was well-received and well-attended by the community and beyond! By the best estimates of the American Crafters, approximately 600 people were in attendance. Despite the trolly debacle (due to some miscommunication, it wasn’t booked) and limited accessibility to buildings (people weren’t able to crowd into buildings this year), it was a very successful event.
The Committee discussed the possibility of completing the tourism directional sign project (the new one on the corner of Blecha Court) using some of the leftover funds from the contractual services line item in the annual tourism budget. If we’re able to use said funds to help cover the cost, then Brian, Barb, Jude, and Neal will pay for “their” individual signs ($120 each) to contribute.
The Lincoln Highway Sign project is currently on hold. Barb Mask would like to see the sign/mural placed near the site of the old Lyons bridge. The estimated cost of erecting said sign/mural would be approximately $30,000, all of which would need to be covered by fundraising efforts. Former Tourism Coordinator Debi Ervin was in touch with the original painter about the possibility of freshening up and restoring the sign/mural, but Aaron hasn’t been able to locate his contact information yet.
A brief discussion was had about the tourism goals for 2021. One phrase came through loud and clear: “Be prepared!” When the gates of tourism are allowed to reopen, we need to be prepared to inform and welcome the masses to our wonderful, little city!
The next Tourism Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 10, at 4:30 PM.