By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor
Grove City officials would like to see more collaboration when it comes to promoting the city.
A discussion centered around this subject came at a Dec. 15 special finance meeting to discuss funding for the Grove City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, also known as Visit Grove City.
There are several organizations that aim to bring visitors and businesses into the city including Visit Grove City, The Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce, and Heart of Grove City. City leaders would like to see the groups come together for the common goal.
“Each group is marketing different things in different ways, but we all have a responsibility to market the city as a whole,” said Ted Berry, councilman.
Berry said these groups should work together to figure out the branding and messaging for the city.
“I don’t see that happening,” said Berry. “I see disjointedness.”
Councilman Randy Holt agreed, saying there needs to be a single message.
According to Amanda Davis, executive director for Visit Grove City, their goal is to get people to stay, dine, and shop in Grove City.
“We want to continue that cycle of growth,” she said.
Davis said funding for Visit Grove City comes from the city’s bed tax. When a visitor stays in Grove City, they must pay a 17.5 percent tax on that hotel or motel room. Of that percentage, 7.5 percent is sales tax collected by the state and 4 percent of the bed tax is levied by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority who manages the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Nationwide Arena, and Hilton Columbus Downtown. About 4 percent of the tax funds Grove City’s development efforts and 1.5 percent is used for promoting Grove City to increase visitors and boost economic development.
The way the visitors bureau is funded may be changing.
In November, city council voted to amend its code that broadens the definition of convention and visitors bureaus. According to the legislation, convention and visitors bureau means organizations that promote tourism, convention, trade shows, economic development and other cultural, educational, religious, professional, sports and other activities that would enhance the city’s appeal to visitors and tourists.
With this amendment, dollars that typically went to Visit Grove City could now be distributed to other organizations like the chamber and Heart of Grove City. The dollars from the bed tax will go into a community development fund and each organization shall receive funds for the purpose of promoting tourism, convention, and economic development.
Councilman Aaron Schlabach said the members of Visit Grove City did not know this change in legislation was coming.
“Going forward, you will have to make your case,” he told Davis from the visitors and convention bureau. “The money can go to multiple organizations.”
During the special meeting, council agreed to use the community development fund for the organizations instead of the general fund. For 2022, the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce will receive $100,000 from the community development funds, $65,000 will go to the Heart of Grove City, $10,000 will go to the Little Theatre Off Broadway, and $450,000 will go to help fund Visit Grove City.