A lack of discretionary funds was the driving force behind the decisions of the Woodward Tourism and Convention Committee during their monthly meeting Thursday afternoon.

Committee Chair Gary Whitcomb noted that as of Thursday the committee only had $15,000 in discretionary funds to distribute, despite facing an agenda full of funding requests totaling more than $19,000.

This lack of funding forced the committee members to deny two requests for funding, delay funding on a third until after July 1, and split the funding on a fourth between this year’s and next year’s budget.

The funding requests that were denied came from the Tri-State Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), which is holding a fly-in at the West Woodward Airport on Memorial Day, and from the Town of Buffalo, which was seeking reimbursement for sending town official James Leonard to the Heartland Economic Development Course in Kansas City in April.

Jim Curtiss, executive director of the Woodward Tourism and Convention Bureau, said he felt the Tri-State EAA’s fly-in “is worth supporting.”

However, with the knowledge that few if any hotel stays would be generated by the event since the aviators “are not going to leave their planes,” as committee member Helen Mossman put it, the committee couldn’t see the justification in granting the $2,500 that Tri-State EAA had requested.

“I think we need to look more at people who will fill up the hotels,” committee member Bob Jones said.

As for the request from the Town of Buffalo, since the request had nothing to do with an event that would bring tourists to Woodward, the committee members decided to refer the request to the Woodward Chamber of Commerce instead.

However, the committee decided to fully fund a $1,500 request from Tom and Brenda Gilliland  to help promote an annual couples golf tournament at Boiling Springs Golf Course set for June 26 and 27.

They made this decision with the knowledge that last year’s couples tournament brought in 60 couples, 47 of which were from out of town, including one couple from Salt Lake City, Utah.  But probably what swayed the committee’s decision the most was that Tom Gilliland said he could wait for reimbursement until the next Fiscal Year, after July 1.

Not needing immediate full reimbursement also affected the decision to fund the 101 Classic Bowl, which had requested $15,000 to help with promotion of the all-star sports and band festival.  Classic Bowl Board Member Doug Williams noted that the Classic Bowl Foundation spent more than $52,000 in promoting last year’s event through things such as promotional caps and T-shirts as well as radio and print advertising throughout the tri-state area.

“I’m not asking for $52,000, I’m just showing you all we do to advertise Woodward,” Williams said.

After much discussion, in which committee members agreed that the Classic Bowl is perhaps the biggest tourist event for Woodward as it brings in around 800 area students and their families for the week-long festival, the committee devised a payment plan whereby the 101 Classic Bowl Foundation would receive $5,000 in June, $5,000 in July, and potentially receive an additional $5,000 in August “if our revenues improve,” Whitcomb said.

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