E-mail and social media outreach to promote tourism in Fremont County connected with 4.8 million people in 2014. That was among the highlights in the Fremont County Tourism Council’s (FCTC) annual report to the Fremont County Board of Commissioners. Tourism Council Vice President Beth Katchmar presented the annual report which indicated that nearly 71 percent of guests learned of the Royal Gorge Region through some type of online or digital activity.
Katchmar reported that FCTC successfully invested a $150,000 grant for economic and tourism recovery in the aftermath of the Royal Gorge Park wildfire in 2013. Katchmar said the marketing outreach generated by the grant funds calculated into an estimated $11.73 million economic benefit to the region.
Katchmar said copies of the 2015 Royal Gorge Vacation Guide have been received and are being distributed throughout Fremont County and the region. 100,000 copies of the tourism guide have again been printed. She said the FCTC RoyalGorgeTravel.com website generated visits from 80,000 people.
Katchmar said lodging tax revenues for tourism promotion lagged behind again in 2014 but despite that, FCTC closed out 2014 more than $21,000 in reserves above expenses due in large part to a $25,000 Colorado Tourism Office grant. Lodging tax collections in 2014 trailed 2013 levels until December when the final tally showed $139,646 in lodging tax collections which was nearly $3,000 ahead of 2013 levels.
The Board of Commissioners Tuesday also authorized the mailing of a letter to the Cañon City Recreation and Park District urging that board take action to adopt boundary adjustments at Pathfinder Regional Park which the county and Rec District had agreed to more than two years ago. There was a delay waiting for an engineering report on the flood plain elevations in Pathfinder Park and how that would affect a potential future crossing to be built across Chandler Creek. The Commissioners’ letter noted that with the engineering report in hand which discourages any crossing upstream on Chandler Creek above the previous agreed to boundary, there is no reason to delay in completing a boundary adjustment.
In other action at Tuesday’s meeting the Commissioners:
- Reappointed Larry Baker to a three year term on the Fremont County Board of Zoning Adjustment;
- Agreed to sponsor a grant application of $25,000 for the 11th Judicial District Combined Courts to the Colorado Judicial Department’s Underfunded Facilities Commission. Courts Administrator Walter Blair said original designs to complete another full courtroom in vacant space now on the 2nd floor of the Fremont County Judicial Center need to be altered to possibly consider using that space for building several court mediation or conference rooms. District 2 Commissioner Debbie Bell said she wanted to make it clear that she was consenting only to the grant application for 100 percent state funding and that the county is making no actual commitment of funds to any courthouse renovation at this time.