It needs to be tied to a non-profit in order to access, allocate lodging tax dollars.
If a revamped Crookston Convention & Visitors Bureau is going to operate out from under the Crookston Area Chamber of Commerce umbrella – as a contingent of local lodging facilities is requesting – it would likely take several months for the new-look agency to secure the required 501(c)3 non-profit status.
So in the meantime, at least, leaders of revamped CVB are asking that they be able to slide under the Crookston Housing & Economic Development Authority (CHEDA) umbrella so that the CVB Board would have the authority to invest lodging tax revenue in events and other activities in Crookston in the hope of putting more “heads on beds” at local hotels and motels and increasing traffic at other businesses in the community.
Laurie Stahlecker, Crookston Inn & Convention Center owner/manager, pitched the proposal to the CHEDA Board of Directors this week. CHEDA Board President Kurt Heldstab said the board would take the request under advisement, pending a similar proposal that would have to be made before the Crookston City Council. The City of Crookston, even in a scenario that would have the CVB separated from the Chamber and instead affiliated with CHEDA, would still be the flow-through entity for lodging tax revenue.
Stahlecker’s proposal this week comes on the heels of she and other local hotel managers asking the council a few weeks ago to allow them to reorganize the CVB with increased say from lodging facility owners and free from the Chamber. Days after that request was made, the Chamber Executive Board met and subsequently sent a letter to the council requesting that the Chamber’s contract with the City be terminated in order to sever ties between the Chamber and CVB.
This week at Valley Technology Park, Stahlecker presented CHEDA Board members with a business plan for the revamped CVB. She said the group consulted with the United Way of Crookston on bylaws and other process-related steps, and also spoke with representatives of the Roseau CVB, which also recently ended its affiliation with its Chamber of Commerce. Stahlecker said the group will also be reaching out to David Bergman of Explore Minnesota, who focuses on northwest Minnesota.
“We have the virus, yes, but there is no time like the present to work on this,” Stahlecker said. “We are very excited for a new board to come together to showcase the great things in Crookston.”
The new CVB would have its own website and social media presence, she added.
“It’s time for a new CVB direction, and people are excited about it,” Stahlecker continued. “There are exciting things to market in Crookston, and there are things we could market in Crookston that aren’t currently out there.”
The revamped CVB Board would have increased representation from the local lodging community, but Stahlecker said it would also have a retail presence and other members who care enough to show up for meetings with ideas and input. If people miss a lot of meetings, they won’t be allowed to remain on the board, she added.
“We would like to see a lot more community interaction,” Stahlecker noted. “We would like to see people gung ho about it, who want to be a part of it and want to market and advertise Crookston.”