By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
A proposed merger of the Barbourville Tourism Commission and the Knox County Chamber of Commerce will have to wait for next week, after the Tourism Commission tabled a motion Monday to bring the two together.
The proposal will be brought up at a special session of the commission next Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 9 a.m.
During the meeting, newly-installed Chairperson Carolyn Valentine told commissioners the Chamber of Commerce made the proposal for the merger. She added both groups had been together several years before before separating, and with the merger the two groups would be supporting each other as one united front.
“A lot of things that Tourism does, the Chamber also does. We can do them together. It enforces our programs and gives us more strength,” Valentine said after the meeting.
She noted the Chamber is willing to provide the Tourism Commission $500 a month for support. Valentine also reported the the by-laws of the commission would have to be changed and new members would be considered, if the merger takes place.
Another question would be where the combined groups would be headquartered. Presently the Tourism Commission meets at the Barbourville and Knox County Visitor Center on High Street, while the Chamber of Commerce is located at Barbourville City Hall.
Valentine was named chairperson moments later at the meeting. A charter member of the Tourism Commission since their founding in 1994, she succeeds Dr. Andreae Collins, who died in early August.
Commissioners were also brought up to date on several matters at the session.
Valentine said directional signs for the visitor center were placed by the city’s street department throughout the downtown area. In addition, the house numbers were placed by street crews in front of the building, to help people from out-of-town find the visitor center.
A new brochure spotlighting tourism in Barbourville and Knox County is presently being worked on, with Excalibur Graphics currently working on map inserts for the brochure. Valentine noted the addition of featured events and locations, such as next week’s Daniel Boone Festival, would be added to the brochure as well as photographs and other information.
Work on the “Music in the Air” project — a project started by local Boy Scout and Eagle Scout troops — continues downtown. The steps have been built for the stage, with the railing coming next, according to Valentine. In addition, the final touches for the 65th Annual Daniel Boone Festival are being made. The festival begins this Sunday and continues in downtown Barbourville through next Saturday, Oct. 13. And she pointed out 3,965 people have become friends of the commission’s Facebook page for tourism updates.
Valentine reminded those present that this year’s Chamber of Commerce banquet will feature as guest speaker Travis Freeman, a former Corbin High football team member from 1996 to 1999. Freeman, who lost his sight at the age of 13 by a severe sinus infection resulting from bacterial meningitis, played for the Redhounds despite his disability. The feature motion picture “23 Blast” that was filmed this spring in Corbin, is based on his time as a football player.
The banquet is set for Tuesday, Oct. 23 at the Patridge Student Center on the Union College campus, starting with a reception at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m.
By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
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