Nicole Barde

You can find the Agenda and the entire packet HERE

During Public Comment, Elaine Spencer, Executive Director of the V& T Railway, got up to report that they are having a good season. That the significant increase in marketing effort (and budget) has resulted in, among other things, 7866 tourists brought to VC all of whom can be identified by their yellow stickers. She also said that Engine 18 McCloud is close to being ready for service and that its reintroduction will be a media event kicked off by its new name. The new name was chosen by the BOD from a list of names submitted by riders. The 18’s addition to the line will allow for an additional 210 passengers per trip and that is a huge revenue bump.

Jeff Wood, Comstock Historic Center, got up to ask if there were going to be more resources to pick up the trash after this year’s Street Vibrations. He noted that the town gets thoroughly trashed after this event and that we need more trash bins and more frequent pick-up.

Katie Demuth, VCTC Marketing manager, said that she had ordered more trash bins.

Deny Dotson, VCTC Executive Director, said that they had gotten volunteers to help with pickup in the past but have been unable to find them this year. Someone noted that the middle school kids can do some cleanup but only on their lunch hour. He said that what’s needed was an organization of residents and merchants to volunteer to do it and if Jeff wanted to lead that it would be great.

Judy Cohen, Silver Stope, said that the promoter ( Roadshows) should be responsible for the cleanup. There was a bit more discussion about the VCTC needing to ensure that the trash gets taken care of.

Deny responded that the VCTC already pays them ( Roadshows) $10k in sponsorship for the Street Vibrations event. He further noted that the VCTC already pays for many event-related items such as trash cans, fencing/barricades etc and asked: “ at what point does VCTC not spend for everything?”

SIDENOTE– Uh…..Deny…it IS your problem and if you aren’t spending enough on trash mitigation and pickup ….telling the community it’s their problem isn’t the answer.

You bring these events into town directly or indirectly so you, along with the promoters, own the aftermath…it’s the back end of the event process….you own the process from beginning to end.

I don’t live in VC. I will attend an event of interest then leave…otherwise I avoid town like the plague during an event. I can’t imagine what it’s like for the residents to have strangers wandering around their private property, taking up all the parking space in front of their homes and then sometimes being rude or threatening to them. Add to this the trash that our visitors leave everywhere…not just C street but anywhere they park or walk.

To the extent that the events are there to bring business to the merchants then maybe the merchants can come up with a “permanent” solution WITH VCTC to help clean up the rest of the town …but for VCTC to say “we already spend money on…you do it” to the residents and even to the merchants isn’t the answer as far as I am concerned.

But I digress……

Ralph Ewing, VC Silent Riders, made a point to compliment the transportation arrangements for the Camel races. He said that the buses were running continuously and that it brought the people from the fairgrounds to C street which doesn’t typically happen without the buses.

Dave Abel, Highlander Goldsmith, got up to comment that the new map doesn’t have his location on it. That the house that he and his wife meticulously restored is not just his place of work but also an historic building. Additionally, his part of town isn’t represented at all on the map…it makes it look like there is nothing to see after the Mint so why bother walking down there. He said that it seems like it’s the same key locations that keep getting the promotion.

Deny responded that the map was designed to give people an idea of the towns layout, that it isn’t to scale and that it doesn’t represent 80% of the town. He said that the VCTC doesn’t play favorites in who they promote and showed some of the online promotion that they have given Dave.

Judy Cohen said that there is a focus on the unique offerings of the town like the Roasting House, the Hatmaker, Red Dog, and that Dave is unique and there is nothing about that uniqueness represented.

Angelo Petrini, Board member, said that Dave’s building should be represented.

Corrado De Gasparis, Board Chair that what may need to happen is a poll of the businesses before the map is redone next time.

Arika Perry, Board member and Executive Director of St. Mary’s Art Center reminded people of the two Artist receptions coming up. The first was the Celebration of Life and reception for Louise Kerr on Saturday, Sept 14 and the other artist reception was is on October 12th.

Corrado said that he had screened the film “Shadow of the Gold “ which highlights the historic Comstock mining operations and that it wasn’t very good. As a result, the screening scheduled at Piper’s for the 19th of September has been canceled.

We viewed the newest Below the Surface “ Renaissance” video and as usual, it is just beautiful. It focuses on the Art and Performing Arts scene and features the Red Dog, Pipers, and St. Mary’s Art Center. These producers do such a fantastic job of making whatever topic they showcase seem magical. You can view it HERE.

The Financials showed that the Tourism Tax is significantly up over last year by almost double. This is the effect of adding the new zip code at TRIC…now we’re seeing those revenues instead of them going to Washoe.

The Transient Lodging Tax is another story. While the number of rooms rented seems to be up the revenues seem to be down. This might be due to the Silverland decreasing their room rates and/or incomplete data being reported. One thing to notice is that there is a new column for average room rate which shows it to be $106.83 but….you can’t get that number by doing the math on the page …it is the average of an average done behind the scenes…so we don’t really know what this number is.

The Events updates were next.

Liquid Blue said that altho the Rodeo had about 300 fewer people than last year (2018 was a record attendance year) that it was still a good event. They are in the process of getting the final numbers and will be doing their analysis for a future report. They did acknowledge that there were unintended consequences as a result of the many changes that they made to this year’s Rodeo. They moved the date, they changed the Sunday start time to 2 o’clock to accommodate families coming from church, it was spread out over 2 days and they did more around the Fiesta Del Charro and less on the Rodeo. Any one of these things could have affected the outcome of the Rodeo but having so many was too much. Some of the impacts were that there were competing rodeos in other locations due to the date change and they diluted the Rodeo crowd by having the focus on the Hispanic Fiesta.

The Rodeo is in contrast to the Camel Races which is a VC signature unique event and will draw well against other competing events since o other event is like it. Deny said there were a lot of unsolicited positive comments both at the event as well as on social media. The Friday locals night did well and had a lot of young families. He said that the event set a new revenue record but that the net after expenses is looking to be lower due to more investment in the changes to the venue.

There were more activities, props, games, sounds, seating section competitions, and other things to get crowd engagement and to keep things moving between races. Deny said that the Roasting House cookie prizes were a hit and drove lots of traffic to the shop.

Lee Nashold, merchant and resident, got up during public comment to say that there had been some issues with the Camel Races. General seating was sold out on Sunday and people complained that they were being “upsold” to the more expensive VIP seats and that the $50 price point for a family was out of range for them. Another issue was that the event workers were trying to keep a road clear but that the way they handled it was somewhat abrasive.

Lee said that he heard people complaining that they came to see Camel races and there were very few. That there were a lot of other things instead, too much talking. These folks found the activity boring.

In response to some of Lee’s issues Deny said that the sold-out general admission was an issue due to the popularity of the event. The number of seats that they had this year were the same but that they did do some compression of the seating to make the venue more active. As to the number of camel races, you can’t run the camels all day, they are actually protected by law so while they did add an extra race over last year that was the limit. They tried to fill in the dead time between races with events to keep the crowd engaged. The buses were added to keep people moving around and keep them in town. This seems to have worked.

The Ferrari Hill Climb is a go for the weekend of September 21st and the Outhouse Races are on for October 5-6.

During his report Deny mentioned that they are looking at how to use the newly purchased Freight Depot for events.

You can find the Marketing report HERE, the groups report HERE and the Pipers report HERE.

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