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BE IT REMEMBERED, that a special meeting of the White County Commissioners was held at the White County Courthouse at 7:00 p.m. on June 2, 2004, on the 2nd floor of the Commissioners’ Chambers.

Commissioners’ present was: President John C. Heimlich, Vice President Ronald Schmierer, and Commissioner O.D. “Bud” Ferguson. Also present was the Commissioners Secretary Donya Tirpak.

Commissioner President John C. Heimlich called the special meeting of the Commissioners to order.

 

Commissioner Heimlich said that representatives of the Monticello Lakes Resort Association (MLRA) contacted Commissioner Schmierer last week about having a meeting with the Commissioners discussing the future of the tourism promotion in White County. Commissioner Heimlich said that as a result of that contact we had this meeting tonight.

 

Commissioner Schmierer said that he was approached last week from resort owners asking how the County was going to help out with an information booth to promote the businesses in the area. After doing some research, Commissioner Schmierer explained that at this time nothing is “set in stone” and it may not be pleasing to everyone, but the Commissioners would like to get an information booth set up by June 12th or 15th.

 

Commissioner Schmierer proposed using a mobile trailer, which is normally used by the Northwest Indiana Solid Waste District for educational programs during the school year. The trailer is not in use this summer, which will allow us to use it as a temporary information booth.

 

The trailer would be located on county-owned property at the CDC Resources (Garage). Commissioner Schmierer said that he has already received permission from Mike Cruz, Director of CDC, to place the information booth at this location. Commissioner Schmierer has also checked everything over with the Area Plan office and the Building inspector to have signs put up.

 

The information trailer would have electricity, air condition and be manned during the week and on weekends. All resorts and businesses in White County would be able to bring in fliers promoting their business.

 

Commissioner Schmierer will also propose that the County buy brochure racks to put in different locations around town where your brochures can be set. Supplying the printed material, such as brochures, would be the responsibility of business owners.

 

Another way to promote tourism for White County is to place all of the businesses in the county on the White County web page. The web page will list all of the businesses, give links to your business and list all of the town festivals.

 

Commissioner Schmierer said that he has received a couple complaints because the booth is going to be set on 6th Street and not downtown Monticello. Commissioner Schmierer pointed out that when 6th Street was built 20 years ago, that is where the traffic went. This is not something that the County can stop.

 

Mary Walker, Owner of Arbor Lights Resort and President of the MLRA, appeared to say that the association is very happy that something extra can be done in the county to promote tourism and working to make everybody in the county well known. Mrs. Walker asked if a telephone service has been considered and also if signs are going to be put up for the information booth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commissioner Schmierer said that he was not for sure if a telephone were necessary since the trailer would be manned. Commissioner Schmierer did say that the booth would likely be open from 10 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

 

Commissioner Schmierer said signs would be put up at least 100’ before you get to the booth and also at the location site. Having a sign on HWY 24 is unknown at this time but he will research the possibilities.

 

Frank Blazer, Resort Owner, explained how a telephone would be important at the information center because it would give the resort owners the ability to use the center as a clearinghouse when vacancies are available.

 

James Winter, Owner of the Riviera Resort, appeared to thank the Commissioners for making this giant step. His only concern is what will happen to the information center when the CDC rummage sale (held in the garage and parking lot) takes place during the summer. Commissioner Schmierer said that Mike Cruz did say that the rummage sale has been moved inside the CDC building.

 

Becky Jackson appeared saying that she is very puzzled and confused why an information booth would be put into place when we already have the Chamber established with telephones, set hours and personnel. Mrs. Jackson questioned why the county couldn’t work out their differences.

 

Commissioner Schmierer explained to Mrs. Jackson that the Commissioners are not trying to replace the Chamber of Commerce in downtown Monticello. The Commissioners are putting in an information booth on 6th Street because that is where the traffic is.

 

Commissioner Heimlich said that the idea of having an information booth on 6th Street has been talked about for a long time. Commissioner Heimlich pointed out how the information center for Lafayette is located on I65, not downtown, because that is where all of the traffic is. Commissioner Heimlich said that it makes more sense that if you want to reach more people with more information; you need to put your booth where the most traffic goes.

 

Sally Blazer, member of the MLRA, said that the MLRA feels that the information booth is important to have on 6th Street because of the traffic pattern. In the past, the MLRA have tried talking with different committees about putting up signs that would encourage the travelers to come through downtown, but it was never a feasible situation. The Chamber, she feels, will still have a lot of participation in promoting tourism and she, as well as others are still members of the Chamber. Sally Blazer said that she feels that the Chamber serves a purpose for Monticello but not the county. She would like to see all of the Chambers from all of the towns in the County have their own brochures printed up and placed in the information booth on 6th Street.

 

Tom Spackman, Jr., Indiana Beach, pointed out how other tourist attraction areas have a Chamber of Commerce in their community and several information booths as you come into those areas. Mr. Spackman expressed that the more ways we spend to capture the people to stay in our area, does not in any way make us in competition with the Chamber. It’s just another way to get more information out to the tourist. Mr. Spackman said that Indiana Beach would support the effort in any way that they can. He said that the County could hang a tourism directional sign under their existing sign on Hwy 24 and 6th Street.

 

Kim Burns, White County Resident, appeared asking the Commissioners who is going to pay for all of this and is there going to be another tax. Mrs. Burns also agreed with Mrs. Jackson as why we can’t use the Chamber this summer since the building is there. She asked why the County couldn’t put out a sign on 6th Street routing everyone in town giving them the chance to see downtown.

 

William Robert Mussall, Owner of Musall’s Lawn & Garden, said that he had went into the Chamber of Commerce for the first time and during the short period that he was in there that at least 10 visitors had come in looking for information about local businesses.

 

 

 

 

Robert Mussall Sr., Owner of Musall’s Lawn & Garden, expressed his disappointment on the traffic not going through North Main Street, which could affect his business.

 

Owner of the WMRS Radio Station, said that what he is hearing is that the Chamber of Commerce will still be open downtown and the information booth will just be another source of information that will be open to all businesses in White County. He recommend trying it for one year and see how the turnout comes. He recommended to Chuck Ryan, TL Cinema, to put out his brochures for the movies and Mr. Mussall to put some of his “beautiful” flower pots out as advertising for his business.

 

Chuck Ryan, TL Cinema, asked if Carroll County resorts and activities could also put their brochures in the information booth. Commissioner Schmierer said that he would encourage them to put their brochures to get the tourist to stay another day.

 

Commissioner Schmierer did commend Chuck Ryan, TL Cinema, because he has a sign on 6th Street for his business.

 

Commissioner Schmierer said that he understands fully the concerns from business owners downtown because he is one of them on Main Street. He explained that the Commissioners are not trying to put anyone out of business, they are just trying to educate the tourist where the businesses are and trying to get them to stay another day.

 

Commissioner Heimlich said that they are trying to put this together in such a short time and sure they will probably make some mistakes along the way, but they would like to have another meeting in September to evaluate how it worked and how things can improve in the coming years.

 

Commissioner Heimlich thanked everyone for their input and said that the meeting was a great turnout.

 

There being no further business to come before the board, meeting adjourned.

 

 

 

____________________________ _____________________________ ____________________________

John C. Heimlich, President Ronald Schmierer, Vice President O.D. “Bud” Ferguson, Member

 

 

ATTEST: ______________________________

Mary Jo Pool, White County Auditor