Jackson City Councilman George Kitchen has proposed a new way to use the city's bed tax money which would involve a person being hired to promote local tourism, coordinate related events and secure new grants.
Kitchen formally pitched his ideas in an information sheet submitted to Jackson City Council President Eric Brown and the rest of Jackson City Council. He also briefly addressed his proposal during council's regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 22.
The city's bed tax income is generated from a 6 percent surcharge paid by guests staying at local motels and other lodging places. The revenue is then divided evenly between the city's General Fund and a fund designated to promote tourism. A three-person Tourism Board representing city government -- Council President Eric Brown, City Auditor Brett Reed and Councilman Jeff Elliott -- then meet on an as-needed basis to determine how the funds will be used.
Kitchen, who has been an active leader and member of the Jackson Historical Society (JHS), proposes that a total of $4,000 be allocated annually from the bed tax to pay an independent contractor to coordinate activities so there would be fewer scheduling conflicts. Other duties of the position would be to promote tourism activities and secure additional grants to help the city.
"A local retired teacher has shown a lot of interest in the promotion of our city," Kitchen wrote in his statement. "He has worked hard on the Civil War 150 and the Historical Society for many years. Please consider this request, I believe it would be beneficial."
Kitchen said he is not proposing any changes in the makeup of the Tourism Board and or its function to distribute available funds; his proposal relates to the proposed new position.
In his written statement, Kitchen mentioned numerous tourism attractions in Jackson County which could benefit by a person hired to promote tourism: Buckeye Furnace State Memorial, Leo Petroglyph State Memorial, Limestone Furnace, the refurbished depot on East Broadway Street in Jackson, historic downtown Jackson, The Round House, the Powell Memorial, and the Lillian Jones Museum.
Kitchen also mentioned the proposed Salt Lick Village, which is being developed by JHS adjacent to the depot. The historic McCoy Cabin has already been relocated to the site and other historical structures will be placed there as well. Kitchen says JHS has a goal to have Salt Lick Village open and in business sometime in 2020. Kitchen told council he is hopeful the project will be receiving "a large sum of money" from the state to provide needed funding.
Council President Brown replied that the proposal should be directed to the Tourism Board. No meeting of the board is currently scheduled, but one will likely be held sometime in March to consider 2018 applications for funding.
Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018
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I have always said we should work on tourism in this area. The water park and Noah's ARK animal park was a great start. Someone should have put in a amusement park and go kart track and we would have been on our way. It would have built up from there,especially with Hocking Hills only an hour away. I think Mr Kitchen has a great idea.