TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

August 21, 2013

County tourism discusses establishment of city tourism


The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer

The London-Laurel County Tourism Commission met Tuesday and briefly discussed the city’s establishment of its own tourism and convention commission.

Commission Chairman Tom Handy said he met with Judge/Executive David Westerfield on Friday.

“I asked him how everything was going and he said he has no complaints and the commission is working good,” Tom Handy said, adding that Westerfield had told him he had contacted the department of local government and was told the funding that the commission has been receiving  cannot be taken away and will continue.

Tom Handy told the commission he sent a letter to the mayor and the council regarding the city’s newly established tourism commission.

“I received a letter back from the mayor stressing that the city has not asked for any of the funds that were levied on the hotel/motels. The letter stated that all the city is asking for is a cooperative relationship between the two organizations,” Tom Handy said.

Jim Handy said the hotel/motel association would meet soon to nominate six representatives for appointment on the city’s tourism commission. Three will be chosen. Nominations have to be turned in by 5 p.m. Thursday to the London-Laurel County Tourism co-directors who will then provide the nominations to the city.

Collier sought approval from the board for the tourism commission to host a tourism slogan competition.

“Some of us met with David Hardin who is doing our new tourism logo and out of that meeting came the idea to do a slogan,” Collier said, adding it could be made into a contest to get the community involved.

Though details for the slogan contest are still being worked out and will be announced at a later date, Collier said she thought a $100 prize would be a good idea for the winner.

The winner must also sign over ownership of the slogan to the commission and entrants must live in the county.

“It needs to be brief and to the point and recognize the fun and adventurous activities that Laurel County has to offer,” Collier said.

According to Tom Handy, “Vacation Crossroads” was the slogan that the commission had been using for years.

“We have a new web page and a new video coming out and a lot of new things coming, so now is the time if we are going to make a change, now is the time to do it,” Handy said.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Deanna Hermann suggested getting all the schools involved.

“We are excited. It will be a great way to get the community participating,” Collier said.

Hermann also gave a chamber update including the the third annual chamber softball tournament taking place Saturday.

“We have 11 teams this year and are very excited about it. We are working on other projects too, like the work-ready community where we are trying to get the schools involved with the manufactures that we have here, to help connect students and companies,” Hermann said.

Eastern Parks Sales Manager Jovan Wells spoke to the commission about a project she was working on to get more motorcycles to come to the area.

“We are putting links to our site at all the Harley stores across the state to promote getting more of those motorcycles out there on our roads,” Wells said.

Collier reported on the progress of several of the commission’s projects.

“Michael Breeding has been in the area filming for the video project that we are working on. He is filming events as they occur,” Collier said, adding that the website was also coming along “nicely.”

“However, it won’t be completely finished until we get new a logo and slogan complete and the same with the brochure, we are waiting on the logo and slogan, which will put us behind on getting our brochure done,” Collier said. She also said that planning of the Chicken Festival was going well and that she had received word that Sen. Mitch McConnel will be in the festival and the parade.

Collier also said she wanted to thank the City of London for its support of the festival.

“I want to commend Steve Edge and Stewart Walker. We couldn’t do it without them,” Collier said.

It was also announced at the meeting the Mountain Life Museum at Levi Jackson State Park will not be closing permanently, but will now be open only on weekends.

“Tom and I sent a letter to the state about the museum closing and shutting down. They don’t want to close it, but for now it will be open only on the weekends and hopefully from that it can grow to being open all the time again. Sam has some wonderful ideas about having local arts and crafts on consignment in there and getting the local community involved with events throughout the year,” Collier said, explaining that after the Chicken Festival, they planned on having a meeting to drum up some support.

“We are going to need volunteers and will try to start pulling some things together to keep it open,” Collier said.

“Local people have contributed a lot of artifacts and antiques and the state has treated it like a stepchild, sending stuff all over the state,” Jim Handy said.