By Lee Bratcher / OC Monitor
HARTFORD, Ky. — The Ohio County Chamber of Commerce’s January membership meeting was sponsored by the Beaver Dam Tourism Commission and Beaver Dam Mayor Paul Sandefur provided an update on BD Tourism and economic development.
Sandefur began his update by going over the concerts already scheduled for the Beaver Dam Amphitheater this year, including John Prine with Tyler Childers in May, the Turnpike Troubadours, Shooter Jennings and Chris Knight in August, the ‘80’s Rocks the Dam! Fest in July and the Oak Ridge Boys will be back in Beaver Dam in June, as will Jason Crabb.
Sandefur let everyone know there were only around 800 tickets left out of the 4,000 available for the John Prine concert.
“(The John Prine and Tyler Childers concert) probably will be our first major sellout,” Sandefur said. “We don’t know if there will be any tickets available on the day of the show.”
Sandefur mentioned the tourism commission was already working on this May’s Strawberry Festival. This year the festival will feature the NASCAR experience.
Jo Beth Embry, the coordinator for the BD Tourism, is working with downtown businesses to plan tourism related sales, specials or open houses throughout the year.
Sandefur told the crowd he still has people asking him, “When are all the tour buses going to pull into town?”
“What you have to understand is, everything we do in the name of tourism, whether it be the amphitheater, the parks, the festivals, is everything our own local citizens can use everyday and every week, if they choose to,” Sandefur said.
The BD Tourism Commission also spreads out into the county by helping other local festivals and events with funding.
“It’s about getting out in the community because it all comes from the community,” Sandefur said. “And I’m really proud of the fact that a third of the money coming in for the restaurant tax comes from outside of Ohio County. Where else are you going to get that kind of return, where you’re getting somebody that doesn’t even live in the county paying for it?”
Sandefur also mentioned the BD Tourism Commission is teaming up with a retail consultant to look into bringing in more retail business to Beaver Dam and the county. Even though the relationship between the city and the retail consultant has just begun, Sandefur is excited about the initial results thus far.
Beyond tourism, Beaver Dam is also interested in fostering economic development, especially downtown. The city recently bought a half a block of buildings in downtown Beaver Dam on W. 2nd St. Sandefur said several people have expressed interest in renting the buildings and opening businesses.
Sandefur wanted people outside of Beaver Dam to realize Beaver Dam’s part of Ohio County.
“We like to think that we’re doing our part to help Ohio County and we like to think we’re doing our part even outside our borders,” Sandefur said.
To view Sandefur’s BD Tourism update in full, see video below.