Commissioner Tom Ferrell wants to know what has happened to the plans to put up a landscaped entrance to greet tourists and shoppers coming to Erie County.
An agreement between the commissioners and the Sandusky/Erie County Visitor Convention Bureau providing a boost in the bed tax money that goes to the visitor bureau called for a nicely-decorated greeting sign, similar to one that welcomes visitors to Hilton Head, S.C., Ferrell points out.
Joan Van Offeren, executive director of the visitors bureau, says a landscaped greeting at Ohio 2 and U.S. 250 is still in the works.
“I think it will happen in 2010,” she said.
The visitor and convention bureau is working with local landscapers to come up with a cost estimate, she said.
The bureau used to receive about $800,000 a year in bed tax money, with other money pledged to pay off the county’s share of the cost for the last round of improvements to U.S. 250.
Those payments have been completed, so starting this year, the visitor bureau gets $1.6 million a year for its marketing campaign.
When the additional bed tax money was redirected to the visitor bureau, commissioners extracted the pledge to build the landscaped entrance, Ferrell notes.
The most immediate priority was to boost spending for the “Lake Erie Shores and Islands” marketing campaign, which uses advertising to try to attract more tourists to the area, Van Offeren said.
The entrance is “in our long term plan,” she said.