Prairieland gets advertising and a balloon, cannot use tourism funds to pay for Festival/Steam Show

By Benjamin Cox on June 21, 2019 at 9:14am

South Jacksonville trustees want a local event to be attended by more tourists.

A tourism grant was rewarded to the Fall Festival and Steam Show Days. However, the money granted cannot be used for normal features of the show in a special year. Hank Poole attended the meeting last night representing the Prairie Land Heritage Cultural Museum.

Poole expressed some frustration, shaking his head in disagreement as an amended tourism grant was approved by the Board. The tourism grant was approved for $25,000 to cover specific aspects of putting on the Fall Festival and Steam Show Days in late September. $10,000 was earmarked, allowing Poole to offer a special treat, and insurance for this event, as part of the Fall Festival 50th anniversary. $15,000 was set aside for advertising, according to the motion made by Trustee Dick Samples, which passed unanimously.

Almost the whole first hour of a committee of the whole meeting Tuesday was taken up by Poole and the Board discussing needs for the 50th anniversary show. According to Poole, he left the committee of the whole meeting thinking he could use some of the tourism funds for to pay for certain aspects of the Festival and show. Village President Harry Jennings explains why tourism funds could only cover the anniversary surprise and advertising.

“We’re sponsoring a hot-air balloon and insurance for that event, and a certain amount of advertising. The tourism grant funds cannot be put towards regular, general costs of a show.”

There was also a brief discussion at the end of the meeting after a closed session. It was mentioned that anyone with an accepted tourism grant larger than $15,000 must give an itemized list of expenses to the Board after the event. The list must confirm how the tourism funds were used to match with the Board’s grant.