The Grayson Tourism & Convention Commission met in regular session last Thursday to discuss various issues related to tourism in the city and to consider grant requests.

The meeting opened with a review of the commission's audit. The audit found no issues, and noted that the organization possesses $6.9 million in long-term debt, but that they came in under budget on expenditures and over budget on projected income, with those extra funds smartly set aside for covering future debt.

During the financial report Don Combs noted that while restaurant taxes remained steady, the commission was still behind on what they budgeted from hotel taxes, because of the owner of the hotels not paying taxes in a timely manner. Combs' report showed that particular budget line was approximately $21,000 short because of late payments.

The commission also heard from sports park manager Grant Harper on plans for sports park marketing and construction progress. Harper told the commission that while “December wasn't a good month for working” because of the weather, construction crews have made a lot of progress over the last two weeks. He said that they expected to see structures completed within the next two weeks.

The commission then moved to accept the recommendation of the Park Board to officially name the park, for marketing purposes, the Grayson Sports Park. Harper once again noted that focusing on team sports for marketing doesn't mean the park won't maintain a focus on amenities for local use as well. He said they don't want the sports park name to limit what the park offers, such as family recreation opportunities and amphitheater performances, but that the organization needed a marketing focus for selling the park to those from outside the region.

Harper told the commission that a website for the park, graysonsportspark.com, is in progress. He also noted that he is looking at other recreational opportunities that would be beneficial to both locals and visitors, such as frisbee golf and a cross country track, that could be added to the existing park at little cost.

The commission also heard a report on the repairs to the sewer lines for the tourism cabin and the Grayson Gallery building.

In other business, commission chair Mindy Woods-Click gave a report on the Grayson Gallery & Art Center. She noted that the F!nal Fr!day event for January is an exhibit of Elvis themed paintings, with performances by a local Elvis impersonator.

In old business, the board noted that the EconoLodge and Quality Inn hotels had come in with checks for two months' worth of taxes each, but they also both still owed two months' worth of taxes as well as late fees on taxes that have been paid.

The commission also moved to approve grant requests from Carter County Cleanup and from the Grayson Fire Department for the Easter Egg Hunt at the Carter County Fairgrounds. They had an additional grant request from Hometown Holidays for Christmas lights, but chose to hold action on that request until a later date.

Contact the writer at jwells@journal-times.com.

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