• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

Tourist Commission approves new spending

The Woodford Tourist Commission unanimously approved several new expenditures at its monthly meeting last Thursday, Nov. 21. On advice from regional tourism officials, members voted 3 to 0 to pay $300 to join the Kentucky Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus and $200 to join the the Bluegrass Tourism Marketing Association. Chair Maria Bohanan said the commission was already a member of Bluegrass Regional, the Bluegrass Hospitality Association and has been approved to join the Kentucky Tourism Association. Commission members Neil Vasilakes and Lee Howard were absent. The commission also voted 3 to 0 to pay $240 for a year’s service by Mailchimp, a mass-emailing system used by the commission’s social media and analytics contractor, Brainbox. Member Aaron Smither asked if there would be any issues migrating data from the commission to Mailchimp. Commission Executive Director Emily Downey said it wouldn’t be a problem. Financials Bohanan announced that the commission had received $22,208 in occupancy (hotel and bed and breakfast) tax revenue from the first quarter (July-September). Additional revenues since the commission’s last meeting include $650 from Pin Oak and $1,300 from Ashford Stud for the new Lexington Street Horse Country mural. Expenses of $5,408.97 over the last month include $564 for Bluegrass Regional, $325.55 for office chairs for the new visitors center, $847.99 for a laptop for Downey, $182 for donuts for last month’s Bourbon Chase, $593.43 for card racks, $200 for advertising in Ohio Magazine, $900 for advertising in Kentucky Monthly magazine, $1,560 for advertising in Louisville Magazine, and $800 to The Amsden Group for a deposit and first month’s rent on the visitor’s center. Bohanan said she planned to purchase a printer for the visitor’s center. “Give us another week and the visitor’s center is going to look very nice,” she said. Downey, who started the job Nov. 1, gave members a binder with her first “director’s report.” She said in about 15 business days, she’d met with more than two dozen people in the tourism industry, distilleries and other organizations, including Midway University, as well as members of the local media and the Holiday Inn Express and Suites. Downey said the commission will hold an official opening for the new Horse Country mural Saturday, Dec. 7, at 3:30 p.m. An open house at the visitor’s center will follow at 4 p.m. and the Versailles Christmas Parade begins an hour later. Downey said a FAM (familiarization) tour will take place Jan. 23 or Jan. 24 and will highlight local attractions for area business and industry leaders. The goals are to remind them of all that Woodford County has to offer and increase the number of out-of-town guests, business and otherwise. The Tourist Commission is funded almost entirely by occupancy taxes. Downey also said she’s working on a “Restaurant Week,” modeled after Lexington’s “Burger Week.” Signatures At his request, a motion to have member Ken Kerkhoff’s name removed from the list of people who can sign checks for the commission passed 3 to 0. The motion added Smither and Downey as check-signers.

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