By Jeff Noble, Staff Writer
Barbourville will soon have a new director of tourism, the result of an agreement approved Tuesday morning in a special meeting of the Barbourville Tourism Commission.
And for the second time in just over a week, the tourism commission tabled a motion to bring them and the Knox County Chamber of Commerce together — a proposal commission members say isn’t a merger of the two.
Those actions came after an executive session was held during the meeting.
Barbourville’s tourism director would also be the special assistant to the president of Union College, Dr. Marcia Hawkins. The idea to serve both the college and the tourism board came in a letter last week, according to tourism board Chairwoman Carolyn Valentine.
“They (Union College) made the proposal, and we received it last Friday. … We would like to know more and have it in place by the first of November,” Valentine said after the meeting.
A copy of the proposal showed the new position would “establish, cultivate and sustain relationships with a variety of agencies, companies and individuals to promote and increase the presence of the City of Barbourville and Union College, and, to develop and maintain programs that make a positive economic impact in our community and on our campus.”
Duties for both the college and the tourism commission would include planning, implementing and managing programs to enhance the city and college and their public images, manage revenue building programs, manage staff and volunteers, manage and develop project budgets, identify grant opportunities and submit grant proposals.
Valentine added the motion to table the agreement of the proposed chamber and tourism working relationship made sense, until action could be taken on who the head of the commission would be.
“We really can’t do anything on this until we get the tourism director named,” she noted.
Tourism Commissioner Lynn Taylor pointed out another reason for tabling the proposal was funding between the two groups.
“Their (the Chamber’s) funds come from different places and many sources. We (the Tourism Commission) can’t fund taxpayer dollars for them. We can’t merge taxpayer dollars into any private entity … It’s not a merger. It would be completely independent. We would provide office space and clerical duties, but the Chamber would not have a full-time employee. We’re willing to do some paperwork for them, and help them stay alive,” he said.
“It’s not a merger, it’s support. We want to help, but we don’t know how to do it legally,” added another Tourism Commission, Charlie Frazier.
The tabling of the proposal first came Monday, Oct. 1, at the commission’s regular meeting. The proposal came in a letter to the commission dated Aug. 14 and approved by chamber officers and the board of directors.