In the recent editorial concerning the proposed visitor center entitled “The Argument of Want Versus Need” there is one part that I must question. And that is the statement that those on the tourism board, because they are involved in businesses that are affected by tourism, should know what is best for the county.
This may be true to some extent, but I must question this for the simple fact that the owner of the purposed location that is to be purchased is also on the board. A fact that was left out of the editorial. Editorials should try to bring out all the facts and not conveniently leave out something as important as this. This alone makes me question the motive behind this editorial. This also leads me to wonder if the board is more concerned about helping one of their members.
Maybe the county does need a new visitor center, which still has to be proven. There needs to be better proof than having a group of cronies coming forward and recommending this million-dollar purchase. Up until recently, the people behind this deal have done their best to keep the whole thing under the radar. It is just recently that some concerned citizens have brought this purchase to light.
In fact, the original concept for this piece of property was for a business resource center, an idea put forth by Alan Yost, manager of economic development and tourism, and who sits on the tourism council. However, once it was determined that transient occupancy tax (TOT) dollars could only be used for tourism-related expenditures the resource center morphed into a new visitor center.
As far as the Economic Development Authority goes, I am reluctant to trust their decision-making abilities after their loan of $50,000 dollars to a failing local restaurant that was leasing space from a member of the tourism board. Again, by sheer coincidence, the owner of the aforementioned property.
Maybe before the county makes any major purchases it should start following were the money is going to and who is benefiting, it certainly doesn’t seem to be the citizens of Greene.