While Yorkville aldermen have still not decided whether to renew the city's agreement with the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, several business leaders are urging them to do just that.
“I am very for the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and one of the reasons is because we are receiving a benefit from them,” Daryl Wiese of the said at Tuesday’s board meeting.
He said he has concerns with the village considering a smaller, local firm to help promote Yorkville tourism. Wiese said about 98 percent of his business comes from outside of Yorkville.
“You have to advertise in other areas to bring people into the area,” he said.
Raging Waves owner Randy Witt said the bureau’s reach is vital for an attraction like his.
“We’ve just come off our fifth season. We’re going in the right direction, however, we need to broaden our reach,” he said. “A couple of years ago we saw a majority of our guests come in from a 12-mile radius. That’s been extended to 30 miles now. It seems to me that with the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and all of its firepower and reach that would benefit our business. And anything that benefits our business benefits us all."
Some aldermen said they’d be more inclined to renew the city's agreement with the bureau if the contract length could be negotiated.
“Aren’t we doing the business owners a favor by making the term shorter and ensuring quality and that the monies are truly coming back to Yorkville?,” said Ward 1 Alderman Carlo Colosimo. “What’s the advantage of a five year contract if the business owners are forgotten and nothing can be done for five years?”
He told Chris Hamilton, the AACVB executive director who was in attendance at Tuesday's meeting, that he is “tired of hearing the village has to commit to five years.”
“The question is, why don’t you commit to us rather than the other way around? I understand you have this five year plan, but we’ve already given you 20 years. Why should we be the ones to bend and say, ‘Yes, we’ll put our trust in you.’ Why don’t you put your trust in us for three years?”
The village’s first agreement with the bureau was signed in 1990 and last renewed in 2007.
Hamilton told aldermen that some of the initiatives the bureau plans to undertake, such as a branding study, could take three years.
“It’s hard to make that commitment if at the end you might drop out,” he said. “We’re not trying to play hardball. The projects we work on are short term and long term. It’s difficult for us to make an investment if potentially in three years you’re going to drop out.”
Ward 1 Alderman Ken Koch said he supports a shorter contract.
“You have opportunities in this three year period to show us the progress you’re making so why would we drop out if you’ve shown us a path that’s favorable? I don’t see why we’d drop out,” he said.
Ward 4 Alderman Diane Teeling said aldermen need to listen to those in the business community.
"They're saying, 'We want the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. We want this opportunity.' They're the ones that have need of this and they're requesting this," she said.
Alderman opted to table the issue for more discussion.