Updated at 11:40 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, with more information. With Hamilton County's hotel tax collections expected to top $10 million a year by 2023, city and county leaders are being asked to use part of the hotel tax now devoted entirely to the Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau for other tourism-related and homeless relief projects. County Commissioner Tim Boyd proposed Wednesday to freeze the money for the tourism bureau and use the growth from the hotel tax to help pay for tourism-related capital projects at local parks or monuments. At the same time, former Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield asked county commissioners to allocate $1 million from the county's hotel tax to match a similar amount from the city's hotel tax and fund operations of a homeless shelter. County commissioners voiced support Wednesday for both ideas, although they said they want to see a business plan and make sure other projects funded with the tax are beneficial. "I do think it's … [Read more...] about Hamilton County leaders consider using hotel tax collections for homeless shelter, tourism projects
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Hamilton County commissioners are split on whether to use taxpayer dollars to help fund a memorial honoring Ed Johnson, a black man who was lynched from the Walnut Street Bridge in 1906. The Johnson Project has been underway since 2017 with a local committee leading the efforts to fund a permanent memorial, as well as the creation of a documentary and community presentations. Commissioners will vote next week on a resolution proposed by Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger to allocate $100,000 in county bond funds to the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga to assist with the memorial, but some expressed concern at Wednesday's agenda session. "I think about Ed Johnson every time I walk across that bridge," said District 3 Commissioner Greg Martin. "I know this story, I believe this story and I think it's a story worth telling, but I have to say to you, despite my love and reverence I'm really struggling with this thought of using tax dollars to pay for historical monuments." … [Read more...] about Who should foot the $100,000 bill to help fund the Ed Johnson Memorial? Taxpayers? Hamilton County? CVB?
With a new board chairman and new president, it was time that the Chattanooga Visitor's Bureau craft a renewed vision for tourism in the city and county for the next few years that will attract more overnight visitors. At the local tourism bureau's first "Tourism Summit" Tuesday afternoon at the Chattanooga Convention Center, CVB President and CEO Barry White announced the organization's new strategic plan to a room full of the area's top tourism leaders and government officials. This is the first strategic plan the CVB has put together in several years. With a new, lofty vision to be "the most competitive and innovated destination organization in the nation" by 2025, White said the nonprofit will work with partners to create a more unified, research-based branding strategy to use across all economic development platforms. "We, as a community, need to have a unified voice in how we present ourselves to the rest of the world," he said. In 2017, Hamilton County saw $1.1 billion in direct … [Read more...] about CVB announces new strategic plan for Chattanooga at tourism summit