The Carbondale Observer

News and commentary about Carbondale, Illinois and SIUC

Special City Council Meeting 07/31/2012

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The Carbondale City Council held a special meeting on Tuesday, July 31 at 7:00 p.m. at the city hall/civic center to discuss options for promoting tourism. After two hours of discussion, council came to a consensus that the City Manager should move forward with reconstituting the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau (CCTB) and contracting with the Southernmost Illinois tourism bureau  another tourism bureau to provide tourism services for the next few months.

To get an understanding of council’s options, three posts on the Carbondaze Gazette blog (one, two, three) are recommended reading. I generally agree with the ideas council member Jane Adams has advocated in her blog (see here ). I think council should reconstitute CCTB with a completely new board and with additional oversight provisions, as Adams suggests. The new board should rename the organizations and make changes to its bylaws if necessary. Adams suggests “Carbondale Visitor’s Bureau” as a new name, and I like that.

I also agree with council member Chris Wissmann that Carbondale should contract with Southernmost Tourism Bureau for some services. I don’t agree that we should make Southernmost our state certified tourism bureau, but we should direct a small portion of our local funds to Southernmost so Carbondale is represented on their website and in their printed material.

The bulk of our tourism budget should go to a local entity. That organization should have a welcome center in a prominent location and should have a first rate website that is continuously updated. The new CCTB should work with stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industries to promote Carbondale as effectively as possible.

During council comments at the end of the meeting, council member Adams made an important announcement. The zoning overhaul that has been underway for several months is nearing completion and proposed changes will soon be released to the public. This is tremendously important for Carbondale’s future and I really hope the changes are positive. I’ve often argued that our zoning laws cause poor outcomes. Zoning is important, and an overhaul and modernization is long overdue.

Comments are welcome.

UPDATE: a reader alerted me that the city council hadn’t decided which tourism bureau will receive a contract for short term tourism services.

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