Convention and Tourism Bureau members learned revenue received from the city’s lodging tax has shown a consistent increase the first two months of this year.

In January the tax collected $8,531.37, or a 28.6 percent over the same time last year. In February the tax was a whopping 61.5 percent increase over last year bringing in $9,574.84. The tax was collected in November and December, city documents show.

Expenditures were $16,594.50 through Jan. 31, city documents show. This covers salary related expenses, sponsorship, marketing and grants.

The tax is ahead of where monies were when collected at the same time in 2016. The city has collected $83,377.13 and there are four months left in the fiscal year, city documents show.

March’s tax revenue figures, which are for January, will be released on Thursday, March 23, during the CTB Meeting.

In the January meeting, Board chairman Jim Corbridge praised CTB Executive Director Brent Malone.

“You are doing a great job representing Grove, lots of things are happening,” Corbridge said.

Malone told the board May 19 is the proposed date of an Iron Man Triathlon. The event will begin and end at Wolf Creek Park and includes 1,500 meters of swimming, 24 miles of cycling and six miles of running. The event is expected to draw between 300 to 500 participants.

Grove will be the only site in the region to host an Iron Man sanctioned event.

Other events in the early stages of planning are a Jr. College Golf Tournament and a Youth Art Show, which has the potential to bring in 400 to 500 young artists to Grove.

Malone addressed the Board during the February meeting informing them the attendance for the Tackle and Hunting Expo Held Feb. 17-19 was more than 8,000 visitors.

An information sheet provided by Hitesh Patel, owner of Stonebrook Inn showed 69 rooms were occupied by guests from Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas.

Sponsorship, Grants

At the Jan. 26 meeting, the board awarded five grants for tourism events held in Grove for this year.

The Grand Lake Quilt Guild was awarded $1,700 for the 38th Grand Lake Quilt Guild Show, the OK Boat Race Association was awarded $1,800 for Thunder on Wolf Creek, Grand Lake Festivals was awarded $1,800 for the American Heritage Music Festival, $1,100 for the Cajun Festival and $1,400 for the Jana Jae Fiddle Camp.

A portion of the grants are awarded upfront with the remainder of the grant when the event is over.

The board unanimously approved at the Feb. 23 meeting to award a $1,000 sponsorship to Grand Lake Association for the annual boat show and $5,000 to the GLOC (Grand Lake of the Cherokees) Shootout, a high performance boat racing event.

Initially there were four applications.

OK Boat Racing Association which holds Thunder on Wolf Creek requested $5,000, GLA requested $2,500 for the Grand Lake Boat/Sports Show and $2,500 for the Pelican Fest and Grand Lake of the Cherokees requested $20,000 for the Performance Boat Challenge. OK Boat Racing withdrew their application after receiving other funding.

Also approved during February’s meeting was a Host Agreement for the Bassmaster Open Series Tournament to be held Oct. 5 through 7. The agreement covers a $12,000 host fee, and the city will provide the Grove Civic Center and Wolf Creek Park while Cherokee Casino Grove will cater the meal. It was also approved for the board to cover 49 motel room nights at a cost not to exceed $6,000.

The board was informed of a bid proposal for the 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament.

The bid proposal was approved and included a commitment from Cherokee Casino Grove for $20,000 and the city of Grove for $25,000 both earmarked for the host fee. The Grove Area Chamber of Commerce agreed to provide drinks and snacks during their registration at the Civic Center and Wolf Creek Park will be the venue for the tournament.

Bassmaster requested 75 hotel rooms nights for their staff. The board approved to sponsor 75 room nights with the provision they be in hotels located within Grove city limits.

The board asked City Manager Bill Keefer to create a policy and contract for further review that would allow resorts outside the city limits to be included in the Convention and Tourism Bureau and collect a five percent lodging fee and issue payment of the fee to the city.

The board also voted to table a Memorandum of Understanding with the city of Miami for the northeast Oklahoma Travel Information Center.