An examination of the documents behind the Spartan Race proposed for Princess Place show tourism chief Matt Dunn repeatedly getting ahead of the process, showing little awareness of policy and protocols and virtually no appreciation for the political context that ultimately sank his biggest pet project to date.
flagler county tourist development council
The $71,000 Deltronics sign, plus $15,000 for its installation, was paid for through a $150,000 grant from county government’s Tourist Development Council and is part of a series of improvements at the auditorium designed to improve visibility and impact.
The federal National Scenic Byways grant was the largest of just three such awards in Florida, and will have a $140,000 match from Flagler County.
Georgia Turner, the county’s radiant tourism director who oversaw Flagler’s and Palm Coast’s realignment as niche sports destinations, a steady rise in tourism-tax revenue and a first-ever working coalition of local arts groups, is leaving after just two years on the job. Personal, not political, reasons led her to the decision.
County Commissioner George Hanns and Administrator Craig Coffey had talked of absorbing the tourism office–currently a branch of the chamber of commerce–into county government. It won’t happen. Rather, Tourism Director Georgia Turner is talking of having a stand-alone tourism office in a few years.
The Flagler County Horseshoe Pitching Club will host a Florida-wide horseshoe tournament at the 18-pit Old Dixie Park the county built last year. The tournament is another addition to a growing list of specialty sports tournaments bringing visitors the county.
An emerging arts alliance for Palm Coast and Flagler County would capitalize on the economic benefits of an arts scene with more coordinated projects and strategy, led by the tourism council’s conciliating voice of Georgia Turner. Obstacles remain, however.
The Flagler’s Tourist Development Council is spearheading an effort to make sure landlords who rent homes or condominiums on a short-term basis, defined as less than six months, pay the 4 percent tourist development tax.
The changes, affecting $100,000 in bed-tax dollars county government, through the tourism council, awards organizations that put on special events, would dispense with the requirement that organizations spend the money advertising their event, and would allow them to spend it on incidental expenses that may be more difficult to track.
The $100,000 budget increase over the current year led one commissioner to raise objections over a doubling in rent costs and a tripling in furniture costs, while another commissioner objected to the rebranding of tourism efforts to include Palm Coast on par with Flagler’s beaches.