On the Agenda for Monday night, JC CVB Brings Back Gateway Markers. Here is the agenda memo. They want to spend $40K for community involvement and design. No total cost was budgeted to actually erect the Gateway Markers.
This was previously on the February 11th agenda. A study was cited, of experts who visited Johns Creek for 3 days as a "reconnaissance team". This "team mystery shopped a sampling of attractions, hotels, restaurants.."
In essence, these 2 "experts" were paid per mile to drive from North Carolina for 2 nights in Johns Creek and determined Gateway markers are what we need. CVB paid $3989.23 in total for this "Destination Assessment".
It is because of the recommendations of these experts, CVB Brings Back Gateway Markers, to spend money as a "Tourism product".
According to 2019 Tourism Product Development Grant document on their website:
The Johns Creek Convention and Visitors Bureau (JC CVB) Tourism Product Development Grant exists to assist Tourism partners in developing new Tourism products and experiences that will attract new overnight visitors to Johns Creek, Georgia. Te JCCVB is the official Destination Marketing Organization of Johns Creek, Georgia. Our mission is to serve as an economic catalyst by marketing the City as a destination for business and leisure travelers. Increased overnight stays increase visitor spending and positive economic impact in Johns Creek.
The CVB has MONEY to giveaway. You can apply for grants of up to $5K, to bring tourism to Johns Creek! The City Council has spent many meetings discussing the CVB and spending the funds generated from the hotel/motel tax. Is bringing Tourism to Johns Creek a priority for you?
Having a CVB is not compulsory for Johns Creek, according to Assistant City Manager Mrs. Greer. City Council can vote to terminate the CVB & hotel/motel tax.
The crux of the issues and frustration with the residents is the lack of knowledge, transparency, and communication with the JC CVB.
No one knows who is on the JC CVB Board, what is on the agenda, when the meetings are or where the meetings are. There is absolutely no information about the above on the JC CVB website or the City website.
Why is the CVB Board members, agenda, work and activity hidden from the public?
According to the Georgia Sunshine Laws: the meeting agendas should be made public and on their website.
[Every agency subject to this chapter shall prescribe the time, place, and dates of regular meetings of the agency. Such information shall be available to the general public and a notice containing such information shall be posted at least one week in advance and maintained in a conspicuous place available to the public at the regular place of an agency or committee meeting subject to this chapter as well as on the agency's website...] page 29
According to the City Council Work Session Agenda Report on the Gateway Markers, Communication Director attended a "special called JCCVB meeting on March 20th". Where was the public notice for that meeting?
These scenarios are also clarified in the Georgia Sunshine Laws:
[Special or emergency meetings that are not held at the regularly posted time and place require more rigorous notice procedures. Such notice includes the posting at least 24 hours in advance at the regular meeting place and oral notification to the newspaper which serves as the legal organ for the county. ] pages 9-10
City Clerk announces when CVB meetings will take place at City Council meetings. It's been stated that they are at times in the City Council Chambers. Why aren't the CVB meeting agendas on City website and Video Recorded & Streamed?
According to the City Of Johns Creek website, [Public notices inform citizens of government or government-related activities that affect their everyday lives. State and federal laws require that information about government activities must be accessible in order for the electorate to make well-informed decisions. For citizens who want to know more about government activities, public notices in newspapers provide this sort of accessibility. The City of Johns Creek publishes its public notices in the Johns Creek Herald, a weekly print newspaper and the City's approved legal organ. They are also published online in the Herald's listing of Legal Ads]
The CVB Agendas and meeting notices are NOT in the Legal Ads of the Johns Creek Herald or on City Website. Why? Who is responsible for this?
We don't know, the board members are not listed on the JC CVB or City websites.
The most successful City event in recent history was the Wall that Heals. The three-quarter-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. was on display at Newtown Park. According to the Johns Creek Chamber, the Vietnam Veterans Wall event was visited by ~ 8,500 people in 4 days.
City Council bought (put a bid on the) the wall for $40K. Former Councilwoman Davenport donated an additional $40K to ensure Johns Creek won the bid. At the last City Council meeting, Staff disclosed NEW INFORMATION that it will cost a total of $400K, in the end, to have the Wall, delivered, installed and the project completed. This is an ASTOUNDING 10X over the original cost when the initiative was on the agenda that the Council voted on.
According to Councilman Lenny Zaprowski, at the 3/11/19, the Wall that Heals is currently sitting in storage. Because of the unforeseen costs, Leadership Johns Creek Class of 2019 and the Johns Creek Veterans Association launched a fundraiser for $75K. This fund will go towards the installation in Newtown Park. No plan or funds has been presented for the remaining $245K that are needed.
In the CVB agenda Memo, there was no mention of the Wall that Heals. The Board is fixated on bringing "Gateway Markers" to State Bridge Rd. The CVB board also reiterated they prefer to hire "Urban Catalyst" for the Gateway Markers.
Do you think tourists will come to Johns Creek see a study of community involvement on "Gateway Markers"?
Much of the divide and soreness in history is how the Veterans were treated upon their return from War. The Wall that Heals brings closure to many people who live through that generation.
Equally important, is for the younger generations to learn the sacrifices of those that have become before them.
Maybe the focus shouldn't be what brings tourists to Johns Creek.
What about, what can bring Johns Creek together?
p style="font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; text-align: center;">Donate to the Wall that Heals Go Fund
Donations of more than $500 are to be coordinated with Abbe Poline. [email protected]
Source: Photo, Henry County, IN; Cartoon-Jeff Parker; City of Johns Creek; & Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce