Today’s column is like your left-over turkey dinner; lots of good interesting pieces, but not enough for a meal. So the following are interesting tidbits that mostly came from my attending a recent Independence Tourism Advisory Board meeting.

Today’s column is like your left-over turkey dinner; lots of good interesting pieces, but not enough for a meal. So the following are interesting tidbits that mostly came from my attending a recent Independence Tourism Advisory Board meeting. I sit on this board as a member-at-large.

I had the opportunity to meet Cori Day, our new director for the Independence Tourism Board replacing the recently retired Stephanie Roush. Robert Heacock, city manager, attended the meeting, welcomed Day and said she was very enthusiastic about starting her new position.

“What we see in Independence is a lot of creativity,” said Heacock as he mentioned the opening of Jackson Drive, the new Englewood Art District, upgrading historic trails, and the Truman Library and Museum.

 “Now, we need to update the Tourism Master Plan and we will need the leadership of Cori Day,” he said “It’s time to get excited about the tourism planning process. It’s a city plan, not the mayor’s or city council’s plan. It needs input and will probably take a year to update.”



Hop on the IndeBus

The city of Independence is again offering the IndeBus for holiday shoppers free of charge from Black Friday through Dec. 26. Busses will run two routes to the four main shopping centers along 39th St. and Jackson Drive, The Pavilions at Hartman Heritage, Independence Center, Independence Commons and Bolger Square.

Six hotels will participate with pick up sites for guests. This means you can park your car once and get to all the shopping centers. My shopaholic neighbors think this is the best thing since sliced bread. I like to remind them that shopping local helps our retailers and also helps our sales tax coffers. For times and pick up check out www.independencemo.org.



Santi-Cali-Gon praise

Rick Hemmingsen, president of the Independence Chamber of Commerce, reported at this meeting that National Geographic magazine’s section “Traveler20” picked Santa-Cali-Gon Days as one of the 20 travel-worthy events. It was right up there with national and international festivals such as, “Up in the Air” Reno, Nev.; “Wine Train” Regua, Portugal; “Latino Legacy” New York City, “Reel World Film Festival” Toronto, Canada and more.



Ice is hot

Mike Young, general manager of the Independence Events Center had lots of statistics to report on about the Community Ice Rink, which is about a year old. I was really impressed with some of the numbers he presented. About 250,000 came through the doors for Community Ice programs. The learn- to-skate program with Olympic certified instructors drew 5,118 participants. There were 30,126 skate rentals, and 2,003 people needed skates sharpened.

“This is good economic impact,” said Young “The partnership between state hockey tournaments, local hotels and restaurants is worth mentioning.”
 

Director’s report

Day reported that the transient tax was up almost $20,000 based upon numbers from September 2010 vs. September 2009 or $108,259 and $88,245 respectively.

Lodging occupancy from Smith Travel Research showed an 11 percent increase in 2010 over 2009.

Steve Noll, executive director, Jackson County Historical Society will be the new chair for the Independence Tourism Advisory Board for 2011. Tom Waters, owner of Corporate CopyPrint will be the outgoing chairman.

Personally, the Tourism Advisory Board is one of my favorite meetings to attend. The energy on this board is incredible.