Yorkville may go own way on tourism
By Steve Lord email@example.com August 15, 2012 3:28PM
Updated: September 17, 2012 12:53PM
YORKVILLE — The city is considering pulling out of the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau — and promoting the town on its own.
Mayor Gary Golinski said this week he would talk to a local firm that has said it can handle tourism needs for Yorkville.
“They think they can do it better,” he said.
Golinski’s comments came during a Committee of the Whole meeting, at the end of a discussion about whether the city should sign a five-year extension of its contract with the Aurora bureau. A consensus of aldermen was that the city should not sign a new contract — at least not one for five years.
“I feel we get no feedback, as far as how our money is being used,” said Alderman Carlo Colosimo, 1st Ward. “I just don’t see where we get any bang for our dollar.”
Yorkville raises about $45,000 a year earmarked for tourism. Most of that is the tax on hotel and motel rooms.
Since joining the Aurora Area Tourism Bureau — which itself has been in existence since 1987 — the city has been sending that money to the bureau. But aldermen said they are unsure they are getting tourism promotion commensurate to the money the city provides.
Alderman Jackie Milchewski, 2nd Ward, said she rarely sees the tourism book the bureau puts out, in Yorkville. Colosimo added that he had trouble finding much about Yorkville on the bureau’s website.
“I just don’t see the return,” Milchewski said.
Aldermen also said they thought it unfair they have only one representative on the tourism bureau’s board, equal to smaller towns such as Big Rock. Alderman Chris Funkhouser, 3rd Ward, Yorkville’s sole representative on the board, said because of that small representation, the city’s commitment “is something I think we need to consider.”
The Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau represents Aurora, Batavia, Big Rock, Hinckley, Montgomery, North Aurora, Plano, Sandwich, Sugar Grove and Yorkville.
Chris Hamilton, executive director of the Aurora bureau, told aldermen he agreed with their concerns “100 percent.” He said in the 11 months he has been director, he has been working to improve communication with the cities and the work of the bureau.
“I want us to be data driven, too,” Hamilton said. “We need five years to make those strides. I don’t know if will be fair for us to be judged on what we do a year from now, or even three years.”