Jill Toft, the Clay County Convention and Visitor's Bureau tourism director, and Donna Fisher, the city of Spencer's representative, provided the Spencer City Council with an update on the new local center Monday night.
Toft, the second tourism director for the bureau, shared some of her efforts on behalf of the area, distributing a new brochure targeting some of the destination opportunities in the county.
She also shared the positive feedback received by a pair of large groups who chose to host events at the Clay County Fairgrounds. A sheep symposium took advantage of local amenities in July and a horse show followed in August.
Each group recognized "how welcoming Spencer was," according to Toft.
Toft also shared that Spencer was one of two finalists to host the 2014 Iowa Tourism Conference, but didn't have the necessary hotel space to accommodate between 250 and 300 guests. Council Bluffs received the bid. Part of her position is attempting to bring large conventions and events to the county.
Another group, EntreFest!, considered Spencer for its large conference, but opted to remain in eastern Iowa to better serve travel needs for a large number of their attendees.
She shared, "They said there was no hotel by the events center."
Fisher, the former city clerk, will be completing her responsibilities with the bureau board this month.
"It's really strange to be out here," Fisher told the council. "I really appreciated getting to serve as the city rep ... It's been an adventure."
She continued, "It's becoming exactly what everyone hoped it would be."
"We're working on our annual report before you begin budget workshops and we're working on updating our strategic plan," Fisher said.
The bureau director, who moved into her office in the Clay County Heritage Center in July, also noted the new center was the recipient of a $1,200 grant from Western Iowa Tourism, which assisted in the publication of the brochures.
Toft invited the council and city administration to attend a Western Iowa Tourism meeting which will be coming to Peterson in April 2013.
In other business, council members unanimously approved a resolution for an application from Simonsen Iron Works with Iowa Economic Development Authority for its High Quality Jobs program. The company intends to make a $940,000 investment.
Under the rules of the IEDA a local match of $40,000 is required. Jobs Trust previously met and voted to support the project with a forgivable loan, $20,000 of which the city will match.
- The council approved REAP Grant Agreement with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for the North School Park Trail, $17,197. The project itself calls for a trail to be constructed in the Park consistent with what was done at the Fairview and Deerfield Parks.
- Approved the final filing of an ordinance amending Title 1, Chapter 9, Article A, concerning property tax exemptions for speculative shell buildings, clarifying that, provided a spec building meets the criteria in the ordinance, it would be eligible for a 100 percent exemption from property taxes.
- Approved the final filing of an ordinance amending Title 8, Chapter 7, Section 16 of the Spencer City Code concerning license fees for sign installers, setting the license fees for sign installers to $40 per year. This fee is consistent with the city charges for the electrical licenses.
- Spencer Parks and Recreation Director Delray Bredehoeft told the council, due to low usage and the inability to promise access during snow events, reservations for use of the shelter house in East Leach Park will no longer be accepted December through March.
- Mayor Reynold Peterson appointed Kris Vadroska to the Spencer Cares Committee; and appointed Delray Bredehoeft to the Clay County Conventions and Visitor's Bureau effective Jan. 1, 2013.
- A Committee of the Whole meeting has been scheduled at 5:15 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10, at Spencer City Hall, to review the capitol improvement projects for the 2013-14 budget year.