The Greenville Tourism Committee considered funding its first virtual request when it met last week.
The request was from the I-70 Baseball Coaches Clinic, presented by the Greenville High School baseball program.
For most of the 17 years the clinic has been held, over 300 coaches from the Midwest have attended.
Due to COVID-19, the 18th clinic will be virtual with speakers recording their presentations, and coaches paying to access the talks they want to see. A large variety of speakers have been secured for the 2021 event, which will be available January 17 and 18.
Clinic officials asked the Tourism Committee for $4,040 for printing, postage, mail and email lists and marketing costs. Last year, the clinic received $5,000 and in 2018 the amount was $5,500.
When held at the high school, the clinic provides many overnight stays at local motels. The tourism fund’s sole income is the motel tax assessed to each room user.
This year, the fund has not been receiving much income, since earlier in 2020 the city council decided to return tourism tax money to the motels, to help with their loss of business due to the pandemic.
During the committee’s discussion, City Manager Dave Willey presented the argument for continuing to fund the clinic. He acknowledged that a virtual event would not bring people to local hotels, however he feared by letting the event go dormant for a year, they will be way behind a starting point for next year. He said the attendee list for the event needs to be kept alive so that no one ever feels like the event went away.
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Tourism Director Jes Adam also commented on the request, noting it was a unique, unprecedented experience. He said he was surprised to see the funding stay the same and not go down, but said when he thought about it, he realized the marketing costs would be the same. He also noted he wished it would feed the fund from which it comes.
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The committee agreed to fund the clinic, but reduced the amount to $3,500, $540 less than the request. The vote was unanimous.
The action goes to the Greenville City Council Tuesday night. The council has the final say in the matter.