By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
After six months on the job as the director of Barbourville Tourism, Denise Wainscott’s existing contract was renewed for another 12 months by board members Monday.
The vote of approval was given after the board came out of Executive Session during their regular meeting.
“I’m delighted for the vote of confidence. I’m excited about all the opportunities we’re having with economic growth in our community, the collaborations we’ve made with Union College and the progress that has come in just six months,” Wainscott said.
Barbourville Mayor David Thompson, who serves on the tourism board, said Monday the vote to keep her at the helm of the organization was unanimous.
“We are very pleased with the job she’s done, the direction she’s taken Barbourville Tourism and the results she’s brought,” he said.
Wainscott was named as director last November, and also serves as executive assistant to Union College’s president, Dr. Marcia Hawkins. The idea for the position was to serve both Union and the tourism board, and came from a letter in October from the college. Both Union College and the the tourism board agreed to the position later that same month.
During the regular session, Wainscott shared with board members her recent trip she made with members of TOUR SEKY (Southern and Eastern Kentucky) during their spring workshop tour, visiting Boone, N.C., and the “High Country” region.
“It showed what we could do with our waterways, like having canoe trips, rafting and tubing,” she said, adding she would talk to Union College and the Wilderness Club about the possibilities and opportunities that could be available to the Barbourville-Knox County area.
Like she did last week with the Barbourville City Council, Wainscott pointed out total expenditures from tourism in Knox County increased over a million dollars in 2012, with tourism gains also experienced in the Daniel Boone region of southeastern Kentucky by 2.2 percent (which Knox County and Barbourville are a part of), and statewide as well.
She mentioned work on the new pumper track for the bicycle skills park was delayed last week due to the week of heavy rains that inundated the area. Wainscott said that while the work has been slow, better weather is expected and the track at Thompson Park will be finished soon.
The board was reminded of future events for the next few months.
The first-ever Barbourville Barbecue Cook-Off will be Saturday, June 1, starting at 10 a.m. at Thompson Park.
“We were hoping for six contestants and that looks like what we’ll have this year. We went to one BBQ festival in downtown Sevierville, Tenn. recently to get an idea how we can do ours. They had 30 contestants and several Bluegrass bands playing, and it was good to see what they did. We’ll start off small and grow ours slow,” she added.
In addition to bragging rights, the grand champion will receive $500.
Upcoming artisan exhibits at the Barbourville Tourism office include a pottery exhibit in June, a jewelry exhibit in July, an exhibit to highlight the “Battle of Barbourville” in August, and another exhibit commemorating the Daniel Boone Festival will be held in September.
Next week, Barbourville Tourism will have the class from Leadership Tri-County visiting the city. The visit will be Friday, May 24, during the morning hours with a continental breakfast for about an hour at the office. The class visit will conclude with a trolley tour of the city.
Wainscott mentioned two areas being targeted with brochures about Barbourville and Knox County are now in progress. One involves the Cumberland Gap area of Virginia, while another area is targeted along I-75 and U.S. 25 areas. She also brought out Janet Jones of the tourism office and her staff who have received 200-300 requests about the city and county from people in all 50 American states, as well as requests from European countries Spain, Portugal and The Netherlands.
One request that several people have asked for was brought up during the meeting.
“We don’t have maps. When people want maps, they want one with county roads and cemeteries, because a lot of folks do research and studies on genealogy,” said Jones.
“We’ll need to get the best make we can get, get it reproduced and get it sponsored,” was Wainscott’s reply.
The Knox Historical Museum’s director, Mike Mills, sat in on the session. He said more space has been added in the Museum, located in Barbourville City Hall. As a result, Mills noted families now have more room to do genealogy studies in the museum, as well as visit what he called “a nice hallway gallery.”
Among an action taken at the meeting, the board discussed a burglar alarm at the tourism headquarters that one member said was “worn out.” A motion was made to Brian Centers of Safehouse Security to come over and have the alarm checked out, and give a price for a new burglar alarm system.
“If it’s affordable, go ahead and purchase it,” another member said.
A motion was made and approved.
The group’s next regular meeting is set for Wednesday, June 5.