Tourism board rolling up their sleeves

Photo by Bobbie Poynter Debbie Spencer of We Make Things Happen convinces tourism commissioners to take an active role in bringing the community’s vision to light.
Photo by Bobbie Poynter
Debbie Spencer of We Make Things Happen convinces tourism commissioners to take an active role in bringing the community’s vision to light.

By Bobbie Poynter

Members of the Barbourville Tourism Commission are ready to get their hands dirty as they each accepted a spot on a committee to help bring months worth of discussion to fruit.

“I was quite impressed at such a wonderful turnout,” said Debbie Spencer of We Make Things Happen, of the number of people that participated in tourism’s recent two listening sessions.

To help make the seemingly daunting task of moving the city and county forward, Spencer broke down the numerous community recommendations into smaller categories, like updating website, downtown beautification, Farmers Market, and creating bike and pedestrian friendly roads. She then asked the commission to accept the responsibility of bringing the recommendations to light.

Each member of the commission in turn accepted a position on a committee and agreed to report back to tourism on their progress at the next regular meeting on March 9.

“There is so much we can get done in the next week, next month,” said Spencer. “If you get something small done, it will keep people involved. She added, “I’ve never seen a tourism so involved and so in tune to its community.”

Spencer suggested having a half-day retreat with the individual groups to help stimulate the committees and their volunteers. A March 16 tentative date was set.

“There’s a renewed interest in building up downtown,” she said. “We’re building for the future.

Tourism Director Denise Wainscott updated the commission on projects already in the works, including an economic summit to hold workshops to help new businesses open and stay open. No date has yet been set, but she’s looking at late spring or summer. A bike race will take place April 17-18, and the Redbud Ride Warmup will be April 24. She has spoken with Barbourville Utilities on adding two or three more power hookups at the Thompson RV Park.

She reminded the commissioners that corporate sponsors are still needed for the annual barbeque cookoff and that Tourism is looking for a professional photographer. She is also looking at redesigning the visitor rack cards located around the area and I-75 corridor.