Weatherford Democrat

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October 9, 2013

Boosting revenues by boosting tourism

City Council looking for ways to draw more visitors to Weatherford’s attractions, events

By BRIAN SMITH

Weatherford officials are looking for another avenue to bring funding into the city by hoping to build its tourism revenue and get more visitors into the city.

Mayor Dennis Hooks brought up the idea of making Weatherford a destination city similar to Grapevine and Fredericksburg during a meeting two weeks ago. After meeting with Mayor Pro Tem Craig Swancy, he said he agrees with the old adage — to make money, you have to have money.

“It’s going to take money and it’s going to take a lot of dedication to the cause,” Hooks said. “I don’t know how you go about this, though.”

Swancy said he would like to see the downtown area swell like that of Jefferson, an East Texas community of roughly 5,000 people that grows to 15,000 or 20,000 people on the weekend because of its events.

“These folks are coming from out of town because they’re hearing about or have seen what Jefferson is doing,” Swancy said. “To do something like this, it would take hiring someone to market us statewide.”

Swancy estimates there are about 900 hotel rooms in the city and he said he hopes tourism can become a new revenue stream for the city.

Council member Waymon Hamilton said the city already has plenty to market with the South Main construction project winding up over the next few weeks, Chandor Gardens and a solid antique store base.

“Before we hire someone to market us, we have to have something to market,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said he would like to see the city partner with businesses who are willing to do events and also clean up some of the areas around the downtown square.

City officials and the Historic Preservation Committee have been working on a downtown plan for the last several months. A February public meeting instructed the group what the public wanted to see before the year 2030.

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