New Town of Carlinville Tourism Committee Holds Inaugural Meeting – Enquirer Democrat
By JACKSON WILSON
Inquire Democrat Reporter
The first day of March not only marked the beginning of a new month, but also a new era as the Town of Carlinville’s revolutionary Tourism Committee held its inaugural meeting at Carlinville City Hall.
Brian Zilm, Doug Downey, Jessica Yeager, Mary Tinder, Dan Hauter, Andrea Duncan, Perry Brown and Joey Naples brought a lot of experience and ideas to the table.
Duncan, a retired teacher, was a member of the former tour group. She provided tours of the Macoupin County Courthouse and gave transportation-related tours via a bus.
Brown is the manager of the Mother Road Antique Mall in Carlinville Square. Previously, he spent 25 years in the broadcasting business while participating in numerous promotional activities. Brown said he would like the committee to reach out to all possible organizations. Some examples he gave were restaurants, bars and potential recreation such as bird watching.
“We have to try to be isolated as much as possible,” Brown said. “It’s not that the old touring group wasn’t. I thought it was good, but I would like it to continue. I am happy to be part of it.
Tinder, which called the meeting, expanded on what Brown mentioned by announcing that she had big aspirations for Carlinville to succeed regardless of what the town chose to do.
“I think we have a ton to offer here,” Tinder said. “I wish we were able to wrap it all up in some kind of package and blow it up so people know what we have, where we are and why they want to come and stay. Everything, whether it’s the Historical Society, great food, activities, festivals, Route 66, all that.
Downey, a well-known local who currently sits on city council as alderman for Ward No. 3, agreed.
“We have many assets and points of interest in this community, from Blackburn College to the hospital, courthouse, jail and many other sites that can be visited and/or visited,” said said Downey, who has lived in Carlinville for more than 30 years.
Downey added that he would like to see Sears homes remodeled in some way so they can be included.
“Carlinville has one of the largest collections of these in one place,” Downey said. “I want to see a plan developed to improve this area.”
Downey, who was elected chair, also wanted the committee to take pride in attending all city events so they could work with specific partners to help with promotions.
Yeager joined the committee because she wanted to see the city provide more family-related opportunities, events, and/or activities. She also envisioned Lake Carlinville reaching its full recreational potential.
Naples will assist the committee as a member of its regional tourism council. Naples, which works with Great Rivers & Routes, said community engagement and promotions are both part of its specialist training.
“We are focusing on an area from northern Macoupin County to eastern St. Louis,” Naples said.
Naples is already meeting with tourism committees in Litchfield, Edwardsville and Collinsville.
“Almost every city in our region that I hang out with,” Napoli said.
As the “boy of Carlinville,” Naples also has two businesses in town, including the famous Uptown Tavern bar and restaurant on the plaza, as well as a few homes and a commercial property on Route 66.
“I’m thrilled to see this city become what it could be,” Napoli said.
“Joey is going to be a big asset,” Zilm said.
Budget and tourist ideas
The money that will be used by the tourism committee for projects and any other initiative will be generated by a hotel-motel tax, which has existed for some time.
Downey said there is approximately $40,000 the city currently has access to and the purpose is to encourage guests and vendors to come in and stay overnight.
“We’re not starting from scratch,” Downey said. “We have a good pot to work with to launch certain initiatives. Our first step is to come up with ideas and then go from there.
Going forward, the committee will explore marketing campaigns for social media, Christmas in Carlinville and Lake Carlinville while considering other business elements such as Great Rivers & Routes and participation in the Carlinville Chamber of Commerce.