Florence, Marinette County May Partner On WaterfallIssue Date: July 19, 2017
Shirley Kaufman, chair of Marinette County Board's Economic Development and Tourism Committee and member of Marinette County Tourism Alliance, reported during time for public comment at the monthly Alliance meeting on Thursday, July 13 that she will continue her efforts to have the 29-hour job of county tourism coordinator expanded to full time.
Current Tourism Coordinator Butch Kostreva has repeatedly said he cannot complete all the work he should be doing in the allotted 29 hours.
Kaufman said a special meeting of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee following the County Board meeting on Tuesday, June 27 was intended to review information on how tourism duties are handled in other counties in connection with a job description for the tourism coordinator if the position becomes full time. Some months ago the Economic Development Committee had recommended making the post full time, but that recommendation had not come to a vote by the full County Board.
Discussion and reports at the June 27 Economic Development Committee meeting were forestalled by County John LeFebvre and County Board Chair Mark Anderson, who asked members to hold off because they were working on some other plans. Kaufman was absent from that meeting due to a funeral.
At the Alliance meeting, Kaufman said she and Supervisor Allen Mans, also a member of the Economic Development Committee and former long-time member of the Alliance, had subsequently met with LeFebvre and Anderson to discuss their handling of the full time/part time issue.
As a result of that discussion, she assured the Alliance members that plans will be laid out in late July or early August as to what LeFebvre and Anderson plan to do, but said her efforts for a full time position will continue.
Ginger Deschane, who recently was named to represent Crivitz Business Association on the Alliance, wanted to be sure the plans do not include returning management of the county's tourism program to the Marinette/Menominee Area Chamber of Commerce. She said that had been a very bad thing for Crivitz and the county in general except for the Marinette area. Kaufman told her that is not what is being worked on, but she could say no more at this time except that "plans are being made."
The possibility of obtaining the services of an intern to assist with tourism promotion was removed from the agenda before the meeting started. Kostreva explained he had been told that an intern could only work under his direct supervision, which would be of almost no help to him. Committee members noted that volunteers are allowed to work on various other county projects without direct supervision and wondered why this could not be handled in the same way.
For the first time in several years, the meeting agenda provided an opportunity for the Alliance to make a recommendation to the Economic Development Committee on an issue, rather than just listen to reports. This had been repeatedly requested by Alliance member Shirley Prudhomme, and supported by some others, including Kaufman.
The possible action, on proposed partnering with Crivitz Recreation Association for booths at trade shows, did not actually come to a vote, but received an enthusiastic reception. A formal agreement is expected to be on the August agenda for approval. Prudhomme, who has been an Alliance member since it started, said those types of partnerships, which help to get more benefit from county dollars, were one of the main reasons the Alliance was created.
The "partnering" idea for trade shows would involve paying Crivitz Rec either a set amount or a percentage of the cost of representing the county at travel trade shows rather than having Kostreva use his time to attend and pay the full cost of booth, travel, food and lodging.
Kostreva said when coming to Crivitz for that evening's meeting he had stopped at the Tourist Information Booth on Hwy. 141 to check availability of county promotional materials. He had found there were no County Guides left in the booth, and had not brought any along. He knew that John Guarisco generally has a supply in his North Country Real Estate office, and went there to get some.
He was surprised to discover that Guarisco is president of Crivitz Recreation Association. They had discussed the trade show partnership, and both are in favor. He said Guarisco is putting together a proposal right now, and will have it ready for the August Alliance meeting.
Supervisor Dave Zahn, who chairs the Alliance, asked if the agreement would be reciprocal, for example, if Kostreva would then distribute Crivitz Rec literature at trade shows that he attends. Kostreva said that will be done, but added he already does that, and Crivitz Rec also regularly distributes material for the entire county, not just for Crivitz Rec members. Kostreva felt he would only go to trade shows that Crivitz Rec does not attend.
In years past there had been a formal program of county assistance to help organizations like Crivitz Rec, private tourism businesses, and ATV and Snowmobile clubs promote the county at more trade shows than they could have otherwise afforded.
Zahn asked if this new proposal would meet with objections from the county's Corporation Counsel, and Kostreva felt it should not.
Zahn represents Peshtigo Chamber of Commerce on the Alliance and is Director of the City of Peshtigo Parks and Recreation Department and serves on County Board's Forestry, Parks and Outdoor Recreation Committee.
During time for member comments at the start of the meeting, he reported the good news that the problem of having signs to lead visitors to stops on the county's Waterfall Tour may be solved. A large stash of waterfall signs had been found at Lake Noquebay Park, where they apparently had been stored for years. There are plans to start putting them out this fall.
Zahn also reported that the Forestry and Parks Committee a week ago had approved use of a Marinette County Forest Road to connect Florence County ATV trails with those in Marinette County near Niagara. He said there are also plans in the works to connect the trails on Parkway Road on the west side of the county. Kaufman said there also has been talk in the Highway Committee of allowing use of a section of County O for recreational trail, but that still has to be formally approved.
Zahn said Florence County also wants to partner with Marinette County to promote area waterfalls.
Supervisor Tricia Grebin, who represents Athelstane and Dunbar on County Board, said Florence County had a grant for promoting waterfalls but it is running out and now they want to do another one.
Kostreva said Florence County should be contacting him on the joint waterfall promotion idea. He said he would love to talk to Wendy Gehlhoff about the proposal.
Zahn said Parks and Forestry will be putting GPS coordinates for the Waterfall Tour on the County website in the very near future.
He reported that all the county parks and campgrounds had some damage from the June 11 storm, but Twin Bridge was hit the worst. There a tree wiped out a beach changing house, but it has been rebuilt. Very fortunately, no campers or tents were damaged, and there were no injuries.
Grebin asked Kostreva for more county brochures and maps, "Everybody's asking for them." She is to pick some up at the next Economic Development and Tourism Committee meeting, since Kostreva had none with him.
Grebin reported that Goodman will host "Art in the Garden" on Saturday, Aug. 19.
Shelly Lindner reported the Chamber of Commerce golf outing will be on Tuesday, Aug. 29.
Deschane said Crivitz Oktober Fest is slated for Saturday, Sept. 16. The Crivitz Museum Settler's Day event is to be held on Saturday, Aug. 5.
Zahn mentioned the Peshtigo Historical Day celebration on Saturday, Sept. 30.
Kostreva reported plans are going forward for the big Cabella's National Walleye Championship tournament to be held in Marinette on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Aug. 16-18, Registration is on Tuesday, Aug. 15. He said he has billboards ordered. Banners are done that can be seen from both directions. TV commercials will start on Aug. 1.
Also, the Marinette county Fair is coning up in August. He handed out volunteer sheets for Alliance members to man the booth at the Fair. Zahn commented the fair booth is a little like preaching to the choir, but there are many Marinette County residents who stop at the booth who are not aware of everything the county has to offer.
Kaufman asked Kostreva to try to get state Tourism Director Stephanie Klett to make an appearance at the Fair. He said he has called her but has not yet had an answer.
The next Alliance meeting is set for Thursday, Aug. 10 at Crivitz Village Hall. Agenda, among other things, will include scheduling for the fair, trade show agreement, and discussion on advertising in the tourist guide.
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