CLEARFIELD – Things are looking up after major changes with Visit Clearfield County, the tourism promotion agency for Clearfield County, and the governing board, Clearfield County Recreation and Tourism Authority, received updates on how things are.
Director Josiah Jones explained that a report from Google indicated that searches are up for the TPA’s Web site, which is VisitClearfieldCounty.org. There were 500 searches and more than 1,000 visits in the past month, which is up from previous reports, and he will monitor this information for each meeting.
Some visits have been from outside the country. Chairwoman Terri Cunkle suggested contacting the web host to find out how long people stay on the site. Additionally, the number of Facebook members is growing and is near 3,000.
He noted there is a problem at the moment with the address Google gives for the offices, which are located at 208 Plaza Dr., Clearfield, not Clearfield Street, but added that the more people tag the correct location when visiting, the faster the problem will correct itself.
Additionally, the staff is planning on attending events across the county, not just in the DuBois and Clearfield areas. This weekend, for example, they will be at Coalport and DuBois as well as the Clearfield Bloom and Berry Bash, although the van will not be in Clearfield.
Jones said there will be a need to pick and choose events and what they are not able to attend this year they will try to get to in the next year or two, adding it is important to market all of Clearfield County.
Jones added he is working with the PA Wilds on additional promotion and will be attending the Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance meeting in Delaware. Assistant Director Sue Swales-Vitullo added that this is a big, two-day event and Clearfield County hosted the meeting last year.
Jones also noted people have responded to seeing the travel planners in new places, most recently a report of seeing them at a rest area along Interstate 81. The new travel planners are at the printers and should be available soon.
Two items were discussed under old business. The first was regarding the additional grant funds for Lawrence Township Recreation Park.
Commissioner and board member John Sobel said he contacted the chair for the state recreation committee and talked with him about the additional plans the park committee had for grant funding.
Last month CCRTA approved funds to replace the scoreboard at the park for upcoming baseball tournaments. The park committee requested funding to upgrade bleachers, to include netting and some other improvements in order to continue holding tournaments at the park. Several are scheduled for this summer already.
Sobel said he was told that as long as the park is already in use and the money would be used for improvements to continue bringing “heads to beds” that it would be OK.
The board voted 8-1 in favor of releasing the rest of the money, totaling $25,000 with a 25 percent match from the park, for the improvements. The dissenting vote was from board member John Shugrue, who said he understood the wording of the revised law to restrict them from spending the money in this fashion.
The board also discussed tickets to an upcoming State College Spikes game. June 23 is Clearfield County Day and VCC was given an opportunity to set up the van at the game for $500.
As part of this, the Spikes gave VCC 50 tickets for the game, and 40 were given away to county residents. Jones said he reserved 10 for use of staff and family volunteers to work at the game, but wanted to discuss using them with the board.
After extensive discussion, the board agreed to have the tickets used to allow the staff and family to get into the stadium provided that everyone worked on promotion during the game.
The board also approved reimbursement of $50 per month to staff for use of their personal cell phones. Jones said he understood that other departments were given only $25; however, the tourism staff members use smart phones and are constantly updating social media during the day and weekends as well as answering phone calls and texts. They are not asking the county for reimbursement. The vote was 8-1 with Sobel voting no.
Four grants were approved: Day Spa DuBois for $1,500; WPAL Boxing and Fitness, $5,000; Applewood Barbecue and Grill, $7,500 and Clearfield County Historical Society, $1,065.11.
The funding is being used for signage, Web sites and other promotional materials and all require a 50 percent match.
CCRTA welcomed two new board members, David King and Rustie McCleary, bringing the full complement of members to nine.