Economic leader links more funds, tourist figures

Money for marketing is key, official says

January 26, 2001|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Increases in funds are needed now for Carroll County's economic development and tourism efforts, according to Jack Lyburn, Carroll's director of economic development, which promotes the county to prospective businesses.

Lyburn is seeking a $50,000 increase in his marketing and tourism budgets from the Carroll County Board of Commissioners.

"Our numbers are fine, but we need more money to go out" and try to attract visitors and new companies to Carroll, Lyburn said at a meeting of the county's economic development commission yesterday.

He has asked the commissioners to increase his $100,000 marketing budget, money that would be used for more promotions and advertising. He also asked the economic development commission to support his request.

The increase would be split: $20,000 for his office and $30,000 for tourism, which falls under economic development. Tourism would use the increase for advertising.

In allocation of marketing money, Carroll's economic development department ranks 21st of 24 in the state for marketing money, Lyburn said. It places Carroll at a disadvantage when it tries to attract business and tourists.

Across Maryland, counties are working to promote themselves, he said.

The state is considering a $2.5 million annual tourism budget increase through 2007 to help it compete with surrounding states, said Barbara Beverungen, Carroll's director of tourism.

Carroll's tourism office has launched an advertising campaign that will focus on Main Streets in the county's eight towns. The ads will appear in several national magazines, Beverungen said.

The tourism office has recently published 75,000 editions of its annual Calendar of Events, and has distributed 30,000.

In other news, the commission appointed two committees yesterday to report on conditional zoning uses and campus zoning.

With more than 50 allowable business uses on industrial land, the county is losing too much valuable industrial land, Lyburn said.

Campus zoning encourages more green spaces and landscaping around office parks. Several other counties have adopted it, Lyburn said.

Both committees are expected to report when the commission meets next month.

Members also reviewed the county's newly adopted master plan for growth and an annual survey of community leaders that placed education and growth at the top of its list.

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