New mayor means
Board studying budget proposal for next year
With newly elected Madison
Mayor Tim Armstrong set to take office Jan. 1, the Madison Area Convention
and Visitors Bureau board is about to see some new faces as it prepares
for 2008. Two of the nine board members will be replaced as a result of
the new administration.
Branding: The Madison Main Street Program
is heading a branding campaign to market the citys newly designated
National Historic Landmark District status. The Main Street Program recently
received grant money to help fund it. Lytle said she has talked with officials
from other cities, and they recommend forming a core group of three to
five people to manage the process. We plan to involve Ivy Tech,
Hanover College and other groups, she said. No details were provided
about who is actually developing the citys branding initiative or
where it stands. Lytle indicated that an outside consulting firm would
eventually be hired to handle the bulk of the work. She said the process
is expected to last nine months and be ready to launch in time for the
citys 2009 Bicentennial.
Development: Lytle said she is hoping that Madison will be among only
12 Indiana towns that will participate in state tourisms offer to
partially fund a visit by Seattle marketing consultant Roger Brooks. Brooks
was a hit at last springs Hoosier Hospitality Conference, where
he served as keynote speaker. The three-day visit sometime next year will
cost $12,000, with Indiana tourism paying $5,000 for each participating
town. Madisons portion would be $7,000 of that total. Lytle said
she would ask the Jefferson County Board of Tourism for $3,500 and the
city for the other $3,500. Brooks will visit and analyze local businesses
and the town as a whole, then make recommendations. I think it would
be helpful to our branding process, Lytle told the board. Learn
more at Brooks company website: www.destinationdevelopment.com
Underground Railroad: A new historic
marker for local Underground Railroad figure Chapman Harris is about to
go up, pending funding of $1,800, Lytle said. The state of Indiana is
providing $750, with the county responsible for the balance of $1,050.
Lytle said she has asked County Commissioner Julie Berry to provide the
money from the historic preservation account that is funded with Belterra
Casino Resort & Spa payments to the county. The marker is scheduled
to go up in Eagle Hollow. Meanwhile, Lytle said that Jae Breitweiser,
director of Historic Eleutherian College in Lancaster, is applying for
three additional Network to Freedom designations this year.
If approved, Jefferson County would have more sites so designated by the
federal government than anywhere in the nation, Lytle reported.
Foodways Alliance: Lytle reported that
Foodways Alliance, based in northeastern Indiana, plans to develop a Food
Trail through the area, which would help promote southeastern Indiana
on a website dedicated to foodies. These are people who travel
based on their interest in regional foods and wines. To qualify, the alliance
must identify 10-12 restaurants in the area that meet and maintain its
criteria. The cost is $1,000 per year to participate. Lytle said she would
ask the Jefferson County Board of Tourism for the money. I think
joining this would be helpful to our local restaurants to improve and
critique themselves and help them market themselves more, Lytle
said. Foodways Alliance executive director Susan Haller held a seminar
recently in Madison that was sponsored by the Madison Area Chamber of
Commerce. Learn more at www.indianafoodways.com.
Folk Festival: Director John Walburn
made a report to the board in October, saying the festival broke even
this year. That was an improvement over the initial year, when it had
a negative profit of $4,600 despite receiving $5,000 in seed money from
the Jefferson County Board of Tourism. The group received no financial
assistance from the board this year, so in essence, we made up about
$9,500, Walburn said. A price increase for admission wristbands
is being considered for 2008. Walburn said the group is seeking new members
that are not also involved in the Madison Ribberfest. He said the group
must find a new title sponsor and is already working on the musical lineup
and other sponsors. Festival co-chairman Steve Thomas has relinquished
his leadership role but will still work with the festival, he said.
Moving the tourism office: At Octobers meeting, Lytle spent much of the evening discussing her desire to move her office out of the state-owned Lanier-Madison Visitors Center at 601 W. First St. The county pays no rent to be located there with administrative offices of the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site. Lytles reasoning stems from her desire to obtain more control over the gift shop operation. Currently, the tourism office shares space in the gift shop with the Lanier Mansion Foundation, which operates it. Lytle said she had received several comments about her proposal since October, but nothing was said about the issue at the November meeting. The Madison tourism office moved to its present location in March 2003 from a chamber-owned building at 301 E. Main St.
Don Ward is the editor, publisher and owner of RoundAbout. Call him at (812) 273-2259 or email him at: Don@RoundAboutMadison.com.