CAPC to host workshop addressing new director, future plans March 6

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission wants to know where the community sees the future of tourism going.

On Wednesday, Feb. 13, the commission agreed to host a workshop at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, to discuss the search for a new director and the commission's future in general. Director Mike Maloney will be retiring April 30, and chairwoman Carol Wright said she hopes to have someone ready to step into that position as soon as possible. It's important for the commission to hear what the community has to say about filling the position, Wright said.

"We do have a lot of new opportunities that have come in, such as the trails. Things change really quickly," Wright said. "There are new markets, and we want to make sure we are listening to everyone, especially our stakeholders who are the people in the hospitality business, but also other people in town."

Wright continued, "We want to find the right person for this job. This is a unique community. We want to make sure the person will work well with the community and the staff and have an understanding of where we are and where we want to go."

Commissioner Terry McClung said the best way to go about that would be through a workshop.

"It's important we have a workshop involving the staff," McClung said. "I think it's very critical to have their input. It's important we have that workshop and include the community and those that want to participate in the tourism industry."

McClung said he didn't want the workshop to be a "slam-the-CAPC kind of deal" and Wright agreed.

"We definitely need to make sure that meeting is positive and proactive," Wright said.

McClung moved to hold the workshop at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at The Aud, and the commission unanimously agreed to do so.

Also at the meeting, McClung asked the commission to commit $22,500 to remodel the basement of The Aud. The Eureka Springs City Council has agreed to commit $50,000 to the project, McClung said, with a grant kicking in the majority of the $160,000 project.

"We need to get this in a timely manner because we're on a short fuse. It's got to be in by March 8," McClung said. "The mayor wants to get it submitted by Feb. 28. They've requested we make an approval and follow up with a letter that we're willing to do this. I don't see how we can say no. It's an important investment for the CAPC."

Commissioner Bobbi Foster said she doesn't see a need for an elevator at The Aud, which would be part of the renovations.

"I think to spend $22,000 of the taxpayers' money on an elevator would be erroneous on our part," Foster said.

Commissioner Susan Harman recalled when the council discussed selling a property on Norris Street to help pay for the renovations.

"It's not that I want to argue. It's that I might want more information on this before we vote on it," Harman said.

McClung said the commission wouldn't spend a dime if the city can come up with the money, and Foster said she wasn't comfortable voting on the issue.

"I don't understand why we have to vote on it tonight," Foster said. "Why can't we wait until the grant is given? Why can't we do it all with grants? Why do we have to spend $22,000 of the CAPC money to do this?"

Wright said the city can't apply for the grant without showing where the matching funds would come from, and commissioner James DeVito said the city would stand a better chance of receiving the grant if more stakeholders were involved.

McClung moved to commit $22,500 to the grant, and the motion failed in a 3-2 vote. Finance director Rick Bright then asked the commission to approve a letter of support for the grant. DeVito moved to approve the letter, and the commission unanimously agreed to do so.

The commission's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, at The Auditorium.

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