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Trust Us...it’ll Qualify

BillNOblogFor every really cool story in DMO-land (like yesterday's)...there are the bone-headed, the politically devious and the sensationally unsophisticated tales that make one wanna scream.

One of the latter occurred last week when the York County SC Council voted to purchase 1,900 acres for a recreation site along the Catawba River for $21 million. Part of the funding package being proposed will see the budget of the Destination Marketing Organization there slashed by 43%.

Now, one must always be cautious when working off of media reports. There could be an agenda on the part of the writer. The reporter could be clueless as to what they are hearing. But, what I see in this story is purposeful political misdirection and a calculated belief that the State laws restricting the use of Tourism-related taxes can be bent to the Council's will.

If you want to go down the rabbit hole and read the sad tale, your links are here (the DMO issue) and here (the residents' take).

But, here's the Cliff Notes version: The land is being purchased for conservation purposes. That does not qualify it for Tourism Taxes.

1,900 acres, however, is a lot of land. If thoughtfully designed, the parcel could become a tourism draw. Thus, Tourism Taxes could be utilized.

But...and, it's a big one. There are no plans for the land other than acquisition. At least not publicly shared. And, that the County does not have a Parks and Rec Department, the chance that even a part of the tract evolves into a tournament-grade sports complex appears remote. Indeed, work is already underway for a Sports Park in another part of the county.

The Assistant County Manager says, "I don't have any guilt about a drastic cut to the CVB."

And, that speaks volumes.

Sigh.

Bill Geist

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