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“Wake Up to Carson City”: Visitors Bureau approves marketing plan

John Barrette
jbarrette@nevadaappeal.com

A draft marketing plan and an August youth event attracting thousands to the city dominated the Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau board meeting Monday.

Starting a marketing campaign based on the plan and a new slogan, “Wake Up to Carson City,” isn’t expected until after the board’s July 8 meeting and the finalizing of a city identity and launch strategy.

Linda Barnett, operations manager for Eagle Hospitality & Adventures with offices at Carson City’s Hampton Inn & Suites, opposed that slogan, but the plan was adopted by a 4-0 vote.

Joel Dunn, the bureau’s new executive director, in his first meeting announced an agreement that will bring upwards of 14,000 people to Carson City for the Sierra Youth Football League event set at Carson High School for the weekend of Aug. 10.

“That’s a low estimate,” said Dunn, formerly city recreation coordinator who has handled attracting sporting events to the city in the past. “My approach,” he told the board that hired him last month, “is going to be bringing in major events.”

He said the Sierra Youth football experience for pre-teen and early teenage participants will bring in families, and many will stay in local lodging.

The board also reviewed a request from city government for $140,000 to help service bonded indebtedness for the Virginia & Truckee Railroad project, but tabled it until the next meeting.

The city already will get $100,000 for the bond-payment shortfall and in past years has exceeded that amount that is committed from lodging tax revenues for the V&T Railway, a tourist attraction that runs between Carson City and Virginia City.

Though the money would come only from funds for the V&T, board members sought full accounting of the effects given that the amount available is less than $300,000. Jonathan Boulware, board chairman, said that if the funding of the shortfall should deplete the fund, the board can’t turn to the lodging tax for more than already committed.

“We have to avoid that,” said Boulware, who is with the Gold Dust West Casino Resort.

The board did approve forging an interlocal agreement with city government to have the city handle accounting, human resources, information technology, payroll and sports tournament service for the bureau at an overall cost to the bureau of $95,000. The city had been receiving $70,600 for sports services, so the additional work is for $24,400.

Withdrawing from the Regional Marketing Committee, which handles marketing through airlines flying into Reno-Tahoe International Airport, will save $25,000. The decision to do so allows for revisiting the issue in two months.

Carl Ribaudo of South Lake Tahoe, president of Strategic Marketing Group and current Regional Marketing Committee chairman, made the presentation asking that Carson City remain involved and seeking time to provide alternative ideas.