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  • Writer's pictureDallas Area Visitors

City, DDA, CDC come together for visitors center

DALLAS — The Dallas City Council approved giving the Dallas Area Visitors Center $15,000 to help keep the organization open for the next seven months.

The amount is in addition to $10,000 from Polk Community Development Corporation and $1,000 from the Dallas Downtown Association.

The vote took place at the council’s Nov. 4 meeting, and was unanimous. It was part of an agreement between the city and the other nonprofits to prevent DAVC from closing at the end of October.

“The city and the (Dallas) Downtown Association and Polk Community Development Corporation got together and met with the visitors center and chamber of commerce boards and said there’s value in maintaining the visitors center on a short-term duration to figure out what we want to do long-term as a community,” said Dallas city manager Brian Latta.

Latta and Rita Grady, the executive director of Polk CDC and president of the DDA, met with the DAVC to calculate how much it would cost to keep the visitors center open and retain DAVC marketing director Shelly Jones.

Most recently, Jones, now the executive director of the DAVC, helped organize the downtown trick-or-treat event, expanding it from its former location at Morrison Campus Alternative School and bringing it downtown. Mayor Brian Dalton said at the Nov. 4 meeting that the event was a success in its first year.

“She’s proved to be a very valuable asset,” Latta said. “The mayor’s presentation on the Halloween event, activity that took place, a lot of work was done by her on that.”

Latta said $26,000 was needed to keep the doors open, with the majority of that figure coming from the city.

“I was willing to chip in — and ask the council to chip in — $15,000 of that,” Latta said.

Polk CDC and DDA board agreed to the funding before the Nov. 4 meeting. Latta said the involved organizations have agreed to work on a plan for how they collaborate in the future for the benefit of Dallas.

“There’s been a lot of good work together, some bridge building and some efforts to try and work better as a group between the downtown association, Polk CDC, the city, the chamber and the visitors center,” Latta said. “The chamber and the visitors center’s boards have made some decisions, to cancel their joint operating agreement and some other things have taken place to really provide some distinction between the chamber and the visitors center.”

Latta and Grady have joined the boards of both entities on an ex-facto basis. He said they will assist both the DACC and DAVC as they navigate restructuring and separation.

He said the chamber’s executive director position will be reduced to 20 hours per week at the most, and current executive director JD Shinn will step down at the end of the month. 

“Those things are taking place, and they will be recruiting for a new position,” Latta said.

The DAVC is now located at Willamette Valley Fiber, 988 SE Jefferson St., and the chamber office will be moved effective Dec. 1.

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