Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 73
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for January 18, 2001 & printed January 25th

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

Tourism information for 2001 is at hand. The new Missouri Vacation Planner (travel guide) is printed, the area lake associations have published their 2001 guides, and area attractions were well-represented at the tourism booths at the K.C. Sports Show.

The state-run Information Center on Blue Ridge Cutoff has brochures from cities all over the state; Warrensburg is not among them. No “dancing feet” brochure, no “Lions Lake” brochure, not even the new one promoting Powell Gardens - which was paid for in part by state cooperative marketing funds and was supposedly to be distributed along I-70.

The information kiosk at Union Station has a display of area travel information from as far away as Topeka; Warrensburg is again conspicuous by its absence.

The Missouri Travel Planner is the state’s official travel publication, with about one million copies normally distributed. Johnson County is in the Osage Lakes tourism region, described on pages 34-36 of the guide. County listings include Powell Gardens under Kingsville and two wineries at Knob Noster (we know they’re at Montserrat). Under Warrensburg, we read about the CMSU museum & art gallery, Johnson County Historical Society, and the Old Drum Memorial. The listing for Old Drum says there’s a 50 cent to $1 admission price to the statue; that’s one way to raise money for the courthouse annex. I wonder if the county will cut a coin slot in Old Drum’s back to collect?

This year, the state calendar of events is included in the Vacation Planner. The only events listed in Johnson County are the Martin Luther King event in January and a jazz group at CMSU in February. Surely, we have more going on than that, but our research indicates that nothing else was submitted! While the deadline for submitting events was back in May, I’d expect that the dates for many of our local festivals would have already been known. The Main Street Art Fair, the Knob Noster & Holden festivals, the county fair & rodeo – none of these are announced in Missouri’s official publication. There are two possible explanations. The Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center (GWACC&VC) might not be living up to its claim to represent the ‘area’ by coordinating the collection and submission of data, or the deadlines set by the state might be too early. If the latter, nobody had brought it to the attention of the regional representatives to the Missouri Travel Council, the primary industry group working with the Division of Tourism.

Meanwhile, the GWACC&VC (and the Tourism Advisory Board overseeing its use of $50,000 in lodging tax money) continues to operate without significant public scrutiny.

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