Commissioners hear tourism update

An overview of the many means of attracting visitors to Seneca County was the main topic at the Seneca County commissioners’ meeting Thursday.

Brittany Cook, marketing director for Destination Seneca County, provided a 2019 review and a look ahead to 2020. Destination Seneca County is the visitor’s bureau portion of Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services.

She said her main focus is to get the word out about events.

“That’s one of the things we’re really focusing on this year, making sure our calendar has all the events that would bring visitors to our community,” she said.

Cook said recent upgrades to Destination Seneca County’s website include a comprehensive community calendar, event submissions, a more accessible button to request a visitor’s guide and easier access to the agency’s newsletters. She said the office’s online presence reaches about 125,000 people per month.

People planning events can submit them via the website form or by contacting Cook directly.

“Another big thing that has definitely been fruitful is a link on our website to request a visitor’s guide,” she said. Guides are available in print or electronically.

She said the office put a special emphasis on holiday events in late 2019, which was “very successful,” and she said anyone who is not receiving the monthly newsletter can sign up online.

Cook said Tiffin’s bicentennial plans — Tiffin200 — are under way and the first celebration of the yearlong event planned for March 25, 2022. She said there’s an online survey at bit.ly/Tiffin200 until Feb. 7 to get public input.

“We’re looking for ideas for events,” she said. “One of the things we’re focusing on is linking with other events.”

Cook also said plans are under way for the 2024 Seneca County bicentennial celebration to take place April 1, 2024. Among the plans for the yearlong event is a barn quilt trail. To keep up to date on information, visit bit.ly/Seneca200.

Cook said the 2020 visitor guide is in its final stages and is to be printed within the next two weeks.

She reviewed statewide advertising such as the Ohio Travel Pavilion & Bag Promotion, distribution of brochures on the Ohio Turnpike, use of Ad-Rack and Heartland Travel Showcase, Ohio Magazine, Ohio Travel Guide, billboards and Facebook ads.

Cook said lodging tax revenue has been gradually increasing.

She said her office is planning a meeting with hotels and bigger attractions in the area to get a better idea of “who’s coming and why they’re coming.”

She said the third quarter of 2019 showed more than $47,000 in lodging tax revenue. Data from the fourth quarter of 2019 is not yet available, but there’s been an increase every year since 2014.

Also Tuesday, Commissioner Tony Paradiso said he and commissioners Shayne Thomas and Mike Kerschner as well as Emergency Services Director Ken Majors have sent a letter to the Ohio Department of Transportation requesting a safety evaluation of the US 224/SR 67 intersection. He said the action is a result of an recent accident at that location involving 10 people.

“The people of Seneca County are requesting that ODOT provide more safety measures to prevent, mitigate and hopefully eliminate the danger at this major high-speed intersection at the border of Scipio and Bloom townships,” the letter states. “We are suggesting rumble strips, better warning signs, lights or any other crash-preventative measures that ODOT can provide at this extremely dangerous spot in our county.”

The commissioners heard a request from

Auditor Julie Adkins for a new printer for her office. She said old printer was purchased in 2008 and is in bad shape. She requested $2,000 from the General Fund. The other $4,000 is to be taken from the Dog and Kennel Fund and Real Estate Assessment Fund. The commissioners agreed the equipment is needed and are to approve the purchase next week.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Heard an update on the county employees’ health and wellness plan, which is designed to maintain employee health and keep insurance costs down.

• Proclaimed Monday at Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Seneca County.

• Certified the 2019 county highway system mileage certificate.

• Re-appointed Carl Miller to the Sandusky, Seneca County, City of Tiffin Port Authority board of directors, for a term expiring March 1, 2024.

• Approved an annual resolution to allow disposal of unneeded, obsolete or unfit county-owned property by means of online internet auction as an alternative to public auctions or sealed bid and charging county department administrators or directors with disposal management oversight, retroactive to Jan. 1.

• Approved a contract with Crawford and Wyandot county commissioners for the receipt, custody and care of juveniles on behalf of the Seneca County Youth Center for 2020.

• Established a prosecutor DTAC Fund.