Arnold’s Tourism Commission may begin to work more closely with the Parks and Recreation Department to increase tourism activities for the 2011 and 2012 fiscal year.
The commission may also begin to develop partnerships with the tourism departments of St. Louis County, St. Louis city and Fenton.
The tourism commissioners mentioned the ideas during the Tourism Commission’s meeting Wednesday afternoon at City Hall, at 2101 Jeffco Blvd.
Tourism Commissioner Gary Allen and Parks and Leisure Commissioner Gary Plunk said, two- or three-day tournaments at Pomme Creek Golf Course or at Ferd B. Lang’s skateboard park and white-sand volleyball courts could attract more people to Arnold and prompt them to reserve rooms at local hotels.
“Those are assets that are underused, which could also cause people to shop at local restaurants and stores,” Plunk said. He is also a former Ward 4 councilman candidate and visited Wednesday’s tourism meeting.
Proposed sporting events would attract a younger crowd along with their parents, building a group of return tourists for the future, Plunk said.
“We need to go in a different direction,” said Allen in reference to the city’s concert scheduled.
Concerts consume the city’s tourism grant money but do not provide a lasting benefit to Arnold residents, Allen said.
Park improvements, a museum would provide longer lasting benefits and an identity to Arnold, he said.
Actively finding conventions in St. Louis and promoting Arnold’s hotels would increase Arnold's tax revenues, Allen said.
“When there’s a Baptist convention in St. Louis the hotels all the way down to Festus are filled, “ said Allen, who represents Arnold’s hotel industry on the tourism commission.
Finding ways to promote Arnold’s hotels to convention attendees and working with nearby by towns, such as Fenton, would also increase tax revenues, Allen said.
Fenton has some great soccer parks and people from as far as Massachusetts will travel for those sporting events, he said.
Arnold Parks and Recreation Director Susie Boone said, “I like these ideas, they are probably the best I’ve heard in the last four years.”
Boone said the Tourism Commission needed a strategic planning meeting to develop the details for the ideas proposed.
Events at Arnold City Park, for example, might be difficult because it in a flood zone, Boone said. Commissioners would solve those problems in a strategy meeting.
The next tourism meeting will occur on May 4.