June to be a busy month for tourism, events

Friday, February 27, 2009

June will be a busy month in Nevada this year. The second week of June will have not only the annual Bushwhacker Days celebration, but also the Eagle Riders convention, the Neptunes annual two-day swim meet and a wood bat baseball tournament sponsored by the Nevada Red Sox American Legion team.

And Nevada IMPACT Tourism decided Tuesday night to pay $1,000 to have the Hemmings Vintage Car Rally to visit Nevada during the third week of June for a lunch-time visit and to partner with the Nevada-Vernon County Chamber of Commerce to sponsor the event if the chamber board votes to take part.

"This is a big deal," Brent Coursey, IMPACT Nevada board member, said during their monthly meeting Wednesday.

Coursey said that when he was growing up in Texas, the Great American Race came through his home town and this rally is an off-shoot of that event, which traveled across the country.

He said that some of the same people take part in this event.

This year the rally will be headquartered in Spring-field, and each day the drivers of the 1948 and earlier vehicles will travel to an area town for lunch and return to Springfield. The drivers receive points based on how close their driving time comes to meeting the official time for each leg.

This year the event is expected to have 70 vintage cars and about 150 people.

Coursey said that each of the five towns are voted on by the drivers, with their favorite stop receiving $5,000 and the fifth place town getting $1,500.

Glenda Crowder,, tourism coordinator, said that the drivers would like to be downtown around the Square.

"They want a place to cool off and to have a light lunch, since they will continue the rally after their lunch stop."

Cat McGrath-Farmer, Nevada/Vernon County Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, said that the drivers want a lot of people to come out for them to talk to and to admire their cars.

"This is a really high-caliber event," Coursey said.

The board deferred deciding on whether there needs to be changes in the service agreement with the chamber of commerce or the city ordinance to clarify who the tourism coordinator works for and answers to on a daily basis, until their personnel committee can consider a proposed agreement City Manager Harlan Moore worked out with the chamber.

The proposal would continue the practice of the city sub-contracting tourism coordination to the chamber of commerce, which would hire the tourism director.

The issue arose last fall when the tourism board wanted to give the current tourism coordinator an annual job performance review and found that they did not have the authority to give a review, since the coordinator works for the chamber and is supervised by the chamber director.

Several IMPACT board members had concerns about paying the tourism coordinator's salary with tax dollars and then having the coordinator performing work for the Chamber, instead of duties the tourism board wanted done.

Moore told the board that he had spend a lot time researching the issue and checked with several other towns with motel taxes to see how they handled the same issue.

He said that they contracted with the chamber of commerce for this service.

He said that if the coordinator were a city employee, it would cost about $8,000 more per year to cover the cost of city benefits.

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