The Madison Convention and
Visitors Bureau is considering bringing back A Taste of Madison,
an event last held six years ago and was eventually discontinued. With
funding cuts possible from the City of Madisons annual contribution
toward the tourism budget for 2009, CVB board members say reviving this
event may help replace lost budget money.
We may lose $9,000 from the citys contribution next year,
so I say we do it, said CVB board president Lucy Dattilo at the
Sept. 22 monthly meeting.
Tourism director Linda Lytle said the event earned as much as $6,000,
with about 300 people attending. the last time it was held, but added,
We may only make $4,000 the first year if we only get 200 people.
If revived, Lytle said the indoor event could be scheduled for February
or March and would likely be held at Clifty Inn. She added that it would
likely be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on a Sunday. Tickets would be sold for
$40, allowing visitors to sample foods from various local eateries.
In other news, the CVB board has given the Folk Festival committee until
November to come up with enough sponsors, fully staffed sub-committees
and a band schedule to continue holding the festival next May. The Folk
Festival committee is enthusiastic about its chances of meeting its deadlines
and keeping the three-year old event alive, said chairman John Walburn.
He points out that the now 7-year-old Madison RIbberfest was not a hit
the first year but took a couple of years before it took off. The CVB
board, meanwhile, has decided it would terminate the event this time around
if these goals were not met by November.
Lytle told the board she attended a Sports Commission meeting in Indianapolis
recently while in town attending another meeting. She reported spending
$500 for Madison to be included in a book to promote Indiana towns as
sites for tournament organizers and sporting event planners. The board
told Lytle it was not interested in pursuing a sports commission for Madison
because the City of Madison staff and mayor did not support it. Lytle
said the $500 came from the marketing fund, which is supplied by the Jefferson
County Board of Tourism.
Lytle told the board that Hanover College is again playing host to an
NCAA mens and womens Div. III cross country meet in October.
The last time they held it a couple of years ago, it filled all
of our hotel rooms, Lytle said.
Dattilo instructed Lytle not to pursue the sports commission effort because
the board last January removed it from the boards strategic plan
as a goal.
In other news, the CVB board held a long debate about how it would react
to the Sept. 18 vote by the Kings Daughters Hospital and Health
Services Board of Managers to relocate the hospital to the hilltop
within four years. The board decided to hold a joint meeting with the
JCBT in October to develop a joint statement regarding the hospitals
move. They plan to attend the JCBTs Oct. 8 meeting at the Visitors
Center to explore where we go from here, said member Corey
Lytle, a former member of the hospitals Bethany Circle board, personally
opposes the relocation to hilltop and suggested the issue be brought before
the tourism Branding partners to develop a plan. The Branding Project
is being handled by the city staff, which has hired Seattle tourism consultant
Roger Brooks for $50,000 to direct the project and marketing component.
The partners in the project include the city, tourism, Main Street Program,
Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, and Economic Development Partners of
Jefferson County, formerly MIDCOR.
It might be possible to change the dynamics of the Branding Project
to incorporate how we go forward and find ways to utilize those downtown
buildings being left vacant by the hospital, Murphy said.
Finally, member Joe Carr initiated a discussion about next years
tourism budget, saying it will be due soon. Dattilo and Murphy have been
working on the 2009 tourism budget, which totaled $250,000 this year.
Lytle said innkeepers tax revenue is up 3 percent this year and hopes
that will help replace any lost funding that may occur as the city and
county evaluate their contributions for 2009.
The city provided $10,000 to the 2008 budget, while the county provided
$1,250. Special events contributed $66,200 and innkeepers tax revenue
provided through the JCBT totaled $235,000. An additional $22,969 came
from miscellaneous sources, such as gift shop sales.
Don Ward is the editor, publisher and owner of RoundAbout.
Call him at (812) 273-2259 or email him at: Don@RoundAboutMadison.com.