LaBELLE — The LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation (LDRC) won approval from the Hendry County Board on Tuesday, Feb. 26, of a promotional contract through the Tourism Development Council for $12,000.
Perhaps better news to the crowd behind the LDRC’s recent efforts, though, was the feedback and encouragement they heard from County Commissioner Karson Turner. Although the item was on the board’s routine consent agenda, he wanted to discuss it a little more with the tourism board liaison, county Communications Coordinator Emily Hunter.
He clarified, first off, the amount, then said, “They showed a lot of numbers and a tremendous amount of dates that they’re going to have in this current cycle.” The information on the LDRC’s many events was part of the staff’s report.
“If we were to appropriate more funding for them,” Commissioner Turner asked, “would that allow for them to do more functions, or do they feel like they are tapped out with what they have right now what with manpower and whatnot?”
Kelly Boone, the private, nonprofit corporation’s executive director, stepped up from the audience to answer his questions, and Ms. Hunter deferred to her. “What we have on the calendar right now is what’s doable for us with the funds that we have. If we had the opportunity to have more funding, then we would definitely be able to offer more events for advertising and stuff like that, so I wouldn’t be opposed to having more,” Ms. Boone told Mr. Turner.
The TDC had recommended simply ratifying the contract and “re-evaluating the LDRC’s tourism efforts in February 2020,” but Commissioner Turner said he wanted to go beyond that.
“My motion tonight would be to approve their request … but I would like you all to come back in three to four months, time certain, and look and see if you couldn’t expand your opportunities and see if there isn’t more funding that’s available. Because I do think that if you look at the return that you all have from an investment perspective and what you’re actually doing in the City of LaBelle, I think that you all are a tangible item out there that has a lot of energy behind it…”
“Thank you!” Ms. Boone threw in … “… and I think that if dollars and cents are a little animal that’s going to help that, and you all have the sweat equity to pour into it,” Mr. Turner continued, “it’s something that I’d like to see the county get behind.”
Commissioner Mike Swindle enthusiastically seconded his motion, and it carried unanimously with no more discussion.
The staff’s analysis was as follows: “The LDRC has worked to promote both LaBelle and Hendry County since its inception five years ago. Current LDRC events include Friday Night on Fort Thompson, Smoke under the Oaks and Saturday Market, which are tourism draws for our region. The LDRC was acknowledged as Florida Main Street Community of the Month in December 2018, which garnered both regional and statewide attention for LaBelle and Hendry County. Sponsorship funds from the TDC would assist the LDRC in hosting additional events and support the LDRC in their tourism efforts on behalf of Hendry County.”
The report further said:
“Logo Placement — LDRC will use the Hendry County Tourism Development Council (TDC) logo for all digital and printed marketing of events. The Hendry County TDC logo must also be placed on the LDRC website.
Mentions — LDRC will ensure that the Hendry County TDC is recognized as a sponsor in any radio advertising or during event announcements hosted by the LDRC.
“Social Media — LDRC will promote Hendry County tourism through its social media platforms including but not limited to Facebook and lnstagram. Promotion will include mentions of the Hendry County TDC website discoverhendrycounty.com.
“Cross-County Promotion — LDRC will assist in promoting events throughout Hendry County, not only events taking place within the City of LaBelle.
“Events — LDRC will represent Hendry County TDC at events their staff attends such as but not limited to conferences, exhibitions, fairs, festivals or other tourism-related events both in and out-of-County. LDRC will be provided with TDC informational material to display at any booths or tables the LDRC may have at said events.”
All expenditures are allowable under Florida Statutes, the report noted, and within the 2018-19 budget. The corporation will receive quarterly payments from the county when invoiced.
Chris Felker can be reached at email@example.com.