Monday, December 28, 2015

Merging Tourism and Main Street Boards

I think the city has floated the idea of merging Carbondale Main Street and the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau as a cost saving measure. I say "I think" because in the article, the mayor refers to merging the boards of the two organizations, which would not save the city any money at all, since the board members are unpaid. I know, since I sit on the CMS board and sat on the CTB board for a couple of years. If any board member ever got paid a dime, I never heard of it.

Merging the two organizations doesn't make much sense either, unless you want both to operate out of the same office as the purpose of each organization, while similar, different enough that it requires the attention of a full time director to accomplish. CMS purpose is to drive business in downtown Carbondale and draw traffic to that area which the CCTB's purpose is to draw people to the community at large, specifically to put "heads in beds" at local hotels and bed and breakfasts. Both organizations currently have pretty small staffs, maybe 3 in each case including the director and CMS, especially, relies heavily on volunteers to accomplish its goals.

Now, another part of the proposal, moving each organization out of its present offices and into city hall makes more sense. From what I have heard, I would expect to see the CTB move out of its office at the corner of Marion and Illinois and into the Civic Center sometime in 2016. Its current location is pretty energy inefficient and the organization could see significant cost savings by the move. 

From what I have heard, there is also interest in the CMS offices as a retail location and, since the Old Train Depot is owned by the city, if someone were to make an offer on the location, I imagine the city would want to move CMS to different offices to get another business into downtown.

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