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News TDA plans to develop a marketing strategy

TDA Chairman Candy Presley informed other board members that she was aware that the performing arts center offered sponsorship deals that allow businesses and other entities to sponsor specific programs and events at the center. “I know that they offer sponsorships, and that may be a good way that the TDA can help fund the theater, since it is bringing in tourism,” said Presley.

Board member Summer Woodard agreed with Presley and suggested that the option for sponsorship be considered when developing the board's strategic marketing plan. “I would definitely like to look at a plan for sponsorship for the theater as opposed to having them come every other month or so for a request,” said Woodard. “I think it would be a great opportunity for the TDA and the performing arts center, as well as other who have had [reccurring] requests.”

The most recent request by the performing arts center marks the third request this year. The first was early in the financial year and was granted for $10,000. The center's second request was also for $10,000 and the board voted to grant half, or $5,000 of the request. The TDA felt that a sponsorship would be a more beneficial option for both parties, and would better fit into the intent and purpose of the board.

According to Woodard, the board is planning to schedule a meeting to discuss the strategic marketing plan after the February meeting. When asked if the date would allow the TDA to still fund the performing arts center’s request, which is for March, Woodard responded, “Candy will be contacting Nikki Corbin to explain to her what the board discussed at the last meeting in regards to the performing arts request.”

Presley also suggested that the the board carefully consider the contractual agreements already made by the board for the year before allocating any additional funds. The TDA's current balance is $3,245.95 and the board has Less Commitments of $23,024.40, including $5,000 from a previous request by the performing arts center. While, the $3,245.95 figure only reflects tax revenue generated through the Town's room occupancy tax, Presley said she would be more comfortable waiting to see what additional revenue is accumulated by the TDA.

While the board voted to table discussion of the performing arts center, they did vote to deny funding requests for both Stay and Play in the Smokies and the Cullasaja River Mine for costs incurred during their travel to the South Florida Fair to promote Franklin's business community. Both Stay and Play in the Smokies and the Cullasaja River Mine had individual plans to attend the fair and asked the TDA to provide funding to help with the expenses, as both entities had plans to promote Franklin while at the fair.

Stay and Play requested $400 for one way travel expenses to attend the fair, which draws more than 500,000 people each year. “Our goal is to sell Franklin by offering local knowledge of the area,” said Matt Bateman with Stay and Play in the Smokies, “This would be a great opportunity to gather email addresses and point interested visitors to the Franklin area facebook pages and websites.

Katie LaFlamm with Cullasaja River Mine, who has attended the fair in the past, requested $340 from the board to help cover the cost of booth fees. The total cost of booth expenses for the fair was $2,035. LaFlamm sought additional funding from Macon County TDC and Highlands TDC to cover the expense.

Both requests ensured the TDA that brochures supported and produced by the TDC and Chamber of Commerce would be passed out to fair goers and the groups would track the fair through social media outlets.

Presley stated that she did not believe the fair would be a beneficial one and said that entities she had worked with in the past have considered attending the fair but in the end decided against it.

TDA member Mike Gruberman originally made a motion to approve the Stay and Play in the Smokies request to see if the fair helped promote tourism in Franklin, but after a second motion was made by Woodard to deny the request, Grubermann stated that one vote didn't matter and the Woodard's motion carried unanimously, with Bateman abstaining.

Woodard then informed the board that the TDC had agreed to grant the request to LaFlamm and also stated that if the TDA did not provide LaFlamm with funding, the TDC would acquire the amount asked of the TDA. With that information, Woodard motioned to deny LaFlamm's request, the motion passed in a three to one vote, with Bateman voting against it.

In December, Linda Schlott, executive director of Franklin's Main Street Program requested the TDA provide $2,000 for the 5th Annual April Fools Trail Days scheduled for Friday, March 29 and 30. Schlott informed the board that the event hosts lots of booths including non-profits, hiking vendors, games and food and generates a great interest in the town. She also noted that she requested $3,000 last year, and was only asking for $2,000 this year for advertising for the upcoming festival.

The board voted to unanimously grant Schlott's request.

During the meeting, the board heard funding requests from Doug Morton with the Scottish Tartan Museum as well as for the 2013 Appalachian Trail Biennial. Both requests were taken under advisement by the board, and will be voted on at an upcoming TDA meeting.





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published: 10/18/2013
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