Historical Society Receives State Award

Congratulations to Coffee County Historical Society, which has been chosen to receive a state Certificate of Merit by the Tennessee Historical Commission “for having made significant contributions to the preservation of the historical and architectural heritage of Tennessee.” The certificate was awarded for their series of publications entitled Civil War Soldiers of Coffee County, Tennessee.

$41,000 Tourism Enhancement Grant

The Manchester Tourism and Community Development Commission in partnership with the Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce and Manchester Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce they have received a $41,000 tourism enhancement grant from the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development & Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. These funds will be matched by the Manchester Tourism and Community Development Commission to total $58,000 and will be used for additional electrical infrastructure and facility enhancements at the Manchester Parks and Recreation’s Soccer Complex.

“This is exciting news for our community, as our commitment to invest into impact continues to position our city to strengthen, develop, and grow. The most exciting aspect for me; however, is the collaboration between the Recreation Department, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Manchester Tourism and Community Development Commission. This is a perfect example of the synergy we have created by leveraging strong community partnerships. Obtaining this grant is exciting for the community right now, but the partnerships and relationships we are building are even more exciting for our future,” said Ryan French, Vice Mayor and Chairman.

“The state’s Tourism & ECD do a great job supporting rural communities, and we are honored to have received this grant. Installing lights at the soccer complex will not only allow for longer play and more tournaments but will provide a need for out-of-town guests to have dinner after play, sleep over, and have breakfast in Manchester the next morning. It’s all about capturing dollars. It was privilege to work alongside our Tourism Commissioners and Parks and Recreation on this grant,” said Terri Hudson, Executive Director, Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce

“The Parks and Recreation Department is excited to work in partnership with the Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Commission on providing electrical service to the new Soccer Complex. The partnership allowed us to tap into the Tourism Enhancement Grant program funding to further develop the Soccer Complex. The electrical service is an important step forward to creating a venue for soccer to attract tournaments and tourism dollars to our local economy,” said Bonnie Gamble, Director, Manchester Parks and Recreation

Manchester picked for Tennessee Downtowns program

The Manchester Historic Zoning Commission, chaired by Lisa Moreland, along with downtown merchants, are committed to an appealing, vibrant, and walkable downtown.    Being selected as a Tennessee Downtowns community is the first step in a process of eventually establishing a local Main Street® program, which will make Manchester eligible for grants for which we would otherwise not qualify.
A five person steering committee comprised of Roger Guess, chairman; Steve West, Pat Berges, Ray Amos, and Terri Hudson collected pertinent data and letters of support to put together the application.  This group will undergo several trainings before receiving a $15,000 grant to complete a downtown improvement project

1st Team Manchester Strategy Meeting

Warning ( was up late writing this, so will be grammatical errors )

At 5:30 on Monday June 20th we packed our small conference room with members from State and local tourism, the department of education, hospitality, the arts center, downtown events and revitalization, and of course your team here at the chamber. For those of you who are unaware, the chamber works with the department of tourism and economic development. With all the new information and statistics we have been presented, a stronger more cohesive working relationship with tourism is in the best interest of our members and our community.  The purpose of this gathering was strategic planning and collaboration to increase revenue from tourism. Sara “lastname” was our first speaker. She congratulated our town on climbing in the tourism rankings in the state of Tennessee. One of the factors in determining this ranking is specific to hospitality tax revenue reported. She elaborated on the wide array of resources and tools available through the state and how we can utilize them. She ended her presentation by highlighting that the discovery of unique local flavor is exactly what travelers are seeking such as locally owned eateries and locally owned shops. So if your grandmother or aunt has a hidden vault of family dishes it may be the time to get fitted for that apron.   Have a niche concept for a consumer products that are uniquely local? Could be the time to take a stronger look at the viability of your concept as an actual brick and mortar business.

Next up was Mr. Sam Reed of the Ingram Group. We were first introduced to Mr. Reed by Jeff Cuellar of AC Entertainment at the June Luncheon. For those of you who do not know, the Ingram group is our local liaison for Great Stage Park, or the home of Bonnaroo. www.ingramgroup.com.  Mr. Reed’s primary goal was to, show commitment by being here, reintroduce himself to this specific group, and confirm the commitment of Great Stage Park to our town over the next 15 years.
Incumbent Alderman and Tourism Chairman Ryan French wrapped up the evening with statistics and updates thus far into 2016 as well as stressed the importance of a united strategic front moving forward. A recent audit in hospitality service industries by Tourism resulted in an additional $100,000 in undeclared hospitality taxes. Alderman French stated, “This single effort by tourism sent a message that we are watching, and the reason we are watching is because hospitality directly affects taxpayers.” The Tourism plan for hosting more Youth athletic tournaments are expected to bring hundreds of thousands of dollars into our local economy. The most recent advance in this effort was in the form of applying for a grant to install lights at the new soccer complex allowing us the to ad soccer tournaments to that list.
There are multiple organizations that are each playing crucial roles in strengthening the Manchester and greater Coffee County community and economy. This creates an even stronger need for open dialogue, communication, and a united cohesive effort moving forward. Thus the creation of Team Manchester. Team Manchester is Tourisms answer to informed cohesive effort. Coincidentally this is also a pressing concern we here at the Chamber are currently addressing. We are in the process of building a digital hub where government organizations, private organizations, and members can keep informed, communicate, and collaborate.
Is the chamber on a soap box for tourism? Yes, Tourism is an active partner with the Chamber of Commerce. The proof is in the data. Our efforts for our community and our members is directly linked to many areas Tourism is in control of and we must be involved in those conversations.  Isn’t Incumbent French hot on the campaign trail and needing to highlight his efforts? Yes, but Alderman French is merely one member of a larger organization that is responsible for these efforts. Are you thinking, enough about Bonnaroo already, its 4 days a year and wasn’t attendance down this year anyway? Yes, but that one event is completely separate from the multiple smaller events that will not land lock patrons in the farm for the weekend. This will directly benefit our businesses and economy which benefits members.
Industry, education, retail, community, economic stability, and economic growth are all linked. We feel it in our gut, but most importantly the data backs it all up. Having meetings such as these are how we are staying informed and in turn sharing this knowledge with you, our members.
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