MORGANTOWN — “We’re open for business and you’re going to let people know that.”
Monongalia County Commissioner Jeff Arnett offered as much Wednesday, moments after the commission approved $150,000 for the Visit Mountaineer County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
As previously reported, the funds will be used to set up a grant process aimed at enticing events to Monongalia County.
The Tourism Advancement Fund is actually an initiative previously used by the CVB to attract investment.
CVB President and CEO Susan Riddle said her organization is working quickly to get the application process in place with a goal of getting events here as soon as possible.
“In our environment where we are today, nobody knew this was going to be something, including us, that we were going to be able to offer. So we’re going to have to be a little bit more nimble,” Riddle said. “Having a bunch of meetings and getting a bunch of papers is not going to suit us well to turn things around quickly.”
Applications for funding will be reviewed and scored by a five-person committee consisting of two members appointed by the county commission, two members appointed by the CVB board, and one member appointed by the CVB president.
Also on Wednesday, the commission approved a dramatically reduced rate schedule for rental of the Monongalia County Extension Services & 4-H Center, in Mylan Park.
The building includes 4,260 square-feet of indoor space and a covered 15,000 square-foot pavilion. Prices are half day/full day.
Civic groups and nonprofits can rent the facility for: Indoor only ($40/$80); Outdoor only ($110/$220); Both ($150/$300). For profit and commercial groups: Indoor only ($80/$160); Outdoor only ($220/$440); Both ($300/$600).
Lastly, Commission President Sean Sikora said the county intends to take “baby steps” as it lessens restrictions in its facilities in response to CDC and state COVID guidance.
Initially, temperature checks will go away and capacity restrictions in county offices will be raised slightly.
“We’re following [County Health Officer] Dr. Smith’s recommendations as to how he runs the health department building,” Sikora said. “So, essentially anybody facing the public, we’re asking that employees be masked and we ask that when people enter the building they still be masked because we don’t know what their vaccination situation is.”