At the Hope Advertising and Tourist Promotion Commission’s regular August meeting, pushed back a week due to the Watermelon Festival, members voted late Tuesday afternoon to sign a contract with CJRW Advertising to a collection of services promoting the region, reviewed the budget figures and heard a report. from the director of Fair Park on the progress of Pocket Park and the success of the Watermelon Festival.
As usual, Hope Parks Superintendent Summer Powell presented documents to commission members about receipts and payments made during the previous month. Total July 2022 income was $74,338.88, which is $10,740.09 more than July 2021 income. An overview of the commission’s current account activity from August 12-15 was also provided. , which showed expenses of around $45,400 mostly on supplies and labor for the Watermelon Party.
In addition, council members saw detailed lists of taxes collected from businesses in the area that depend on tourism. The total received for July in taxes was $70,616.94.
Board Member and City Manager Trevor Coffee sought clarification on various expenses incurred during the Watermelon Festival, but ultimately voted with the other members to accept the report.
The commission then discussed an advertising contract for the new fiscal year. At last month’s meeting, Lisa Garrett of Little Rock CJRW presented several options. The board voted to approve a package containing inclusion in an e-newsletter, Arkansas Travel Guide, Arkansas Adventure Guide, Arkansas Motorcycle Guide, banners on the Arkansas Tourism website and, new this year, promotional videos.
Since half of the package cost of $31,784.50 was agreed to be covered by Arkansas Great Southwest, an association of cities and counties in southwestern Arkansas, the commission’s expenses were $15,892, which she voted unanimously to approve.
Powell then updated the commission on the work at Pocket Park which is under construction on East Second Street. For now, the concrete has been poured and the pergola and benches will be installed there in October, as well as the landscaping.
About the Watermelon Festival, Powell said 65 teams registered for the softball tournament, including more women’s teams than in previous years, 19 for the Cornhole tournament and five for the Watermelon Olympics.
A discussion ensued on the lack of watermelons available in stalls and in shops in the city. Coffee said a member of the Bramlett family signaled to him that as of now, a crop was about to be harvested.