Tourism signs promote Dragon
“Visit Graham County, shortcut to The Dragon.”
That message – or one similar to it – will be displayed on three billboards Graham County Travel and Tourism Board members recently agreed to rent for four months at a cost of $3,200.
The board signed an agreement with Allison Outdoor Advertising that calls for renting the billboards during July, August, September and October.
The billboards are located at:
• Highway 74 East from Dillsboro to Cherokee;
• the Andrews bypass heading to Topton;
• near the Topton bridge inbound from the Bryson, City side of the bridge.
The usual rental rates are $375 for the Highway 74 billboard and $200/month for the Andrews bypass and Topton bridge signs. Bryson discounted all three billboards.
The board authorized Tail of the Dragon co-owner Nancy Johnson, the travel and tourism board’s paid “webmaster”, to work with the billboard company,
During the meeting, Johnson said that Tail of the Dragon “might be interested in sharing the cost” if the words “tail of” precede the words “the Dragon” on the billboards.
The board didn’t discuss Johnson’s offer, but board member Robin Turner said, “If you’re going to do a billboard campaign, you’ve got to have a plan that calls for action. You’ve got to give people a reason to visit.”
The board unanimously voted to rent the billboards after a presentation by Allison’s Jeff Bryson, who said his company maintains more than 1,200 billboard faces in three states.
Mary Ann Baker is also being asked to make do with less. The board is setting aside $10,000 for Baker – $4,000 for social media and $6,000 for marketing.
When Baker, who submitted a budget of $60,000 for public relations and marketing, asked for clarification she was told, “This is your fee.”
It appears that the director’s position Tabitha Myler held will not be filled. Instead, the board has budgeted $8,500 for a welcome center hostess.
The board has spent $103,219.60 of its $147,500 budget for fiscal year 2015-’16.
Graham County Finance Director Becky Garland told board members that they are in “very good shape as far as your budget is concerned.”
The board agreed to raise contribution for Heritage Festival fireworks from $5,000 this year to $7,500 in 2017.