Tourism Event Ideas Needed at City Hall
Mayor Ron Counts and City Council members have asked for the public's tourism ideas to attract more people to Arnold.
City council members and Mayor Ron Counts are inviting residents to offer tourism suggestions to will bring more people into the city during the summer and fall seasons.
“We continue to struggle with this,” said Ward 3 Councilman Paul Freese to tourism commission members during the March 3 council meeting at City Hall, at 2101 Jeffco Blvd.
Earlier this year, the board decided to reduce the number of city-sponsored concerts during this summer and fall. The two events are budgeted to cost between $15,000 to $20,000 per event. The city also receives a grant to host tourism events and bring people into Arnold.
Tourists attending the events spend money at Arnold restaurants, gas stations, retailers and hotels, City Administrator Matthew Unrein said earlier this year.
The problem is finding less expensive events that appeal to a large group of people.
Country music appeals to older residents of Arnold and Jefferson County, said tourism commissioners.
Well established performers are expensive, said Greg Hall, Arnold’s director of administration and the mayor’s liason to the tourism commission.
The city paid $60,000 for Wynonna Judd Christmas concert a few years ago, and it cost about $30,000 to get Ronnie Milsap to perform at a concert earlier this year, Hall said.
Neither show sold out, Hall said. To increase attendance, and prior to canceling the Milsap Concert, Hall offered discounted tickets through TicketMaster and bought advertising in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
People quickly purchased the best seats, but only about 550 of about 900 seats were sold.
In February, Milsap canceled the Arnold concert due to an injury. The city lost about $10,000 in advertising and security deposits for the required sound system, Hall said.
He also said Milsap would reduce his fee if asked to perform in the future, to offset the city’s lost money.
The commission’s goals are to find lower cost events and performers who appeal to more people and to younger people. Those people likely to return to Arnold for future events and spend more money as their careers improve.
The city could have had Taylor Swift perform years ago, before she became a superstar, Hall said. The problem is identifying the emerging stars among the numerous performers.
Hall provided some less expensive events that included
- Mark Twain impersonator Michael Mauldin
- The Bee Gees
- Celtic dancers
- Johnny Cash or Frank Sinatra themed concerts
- Jazz music performers
“This is the out of the box thinking we need,” Ward 3 Councilman Bob Lindsley said about the suggestions.
Mayor Ron Counts said, “The commissioners are digging for new ideas.”
Residents are welcome to share their ideas and attend the tourism commission meeting, Counts said.
The next Tourism Commission meeting is at 4 p.m. April 6 at City Hall.
Clarification: Director of Administration Greg Hall had City Hall's approval to sell discounted concert tickets through TicketMaster. An earlier version of this article did not provide that information. The writer and editors erred.