The Destination Hilliard board of directors wants a new executive director named by mid-August.

Christy Clark, the organization's first and only executive director, stepped down July 15.

Clark began a job July 16 as director of digital communications at Westerville-based Crown Services, a temporary-placement employment agency.

"It was too great an opportunity to pass up," Clark said.

She said has enjoyed her eight-year tenure since June 15, 2010, when she was named as the first executive director of Destination Hilliard.

Destination Hilliard was created shortly before that by Hilliard City Council to replace the Hilliard Convention and Visitors Bureau, which disbanded May 1, 2010, after complaints from city leaders that the organization was not adequately promoting the city and its tourist activities.

Destination Hilliard was created by ordinance, said City Council President Al Iosue, and receives funding from Hilliard as required by state law.

However, Iosue said, it is is autonomous and has its own board of directors. Its funding is derived from Hilliard's 6 percent bed tax on rented rooms in the city; City Council redirected that revenue stream to Destination Hilliard from the visitors bureau, he said.

Clark said Destination Hilliard is "an accredited destination-marketing organization with the mission of promoting the city of Hilliard. Destination Hilliard works with businesses and organizations to bring economic activity to the city through events and sports tournaments."

"We did a lot to promote Hilliard," she said, citing increases in hotel-occupancy rates, advertisement outside the Hilliard market and statewide and regional accolades as among the organization's successes.

Hilliard received 14 awards in the tourism industry, and the bed-tax collection among the city's four hotels is at its highest level, she said.

Destination Hilliard receives half of the bed-tax revenue, Clark said, estimated to equal about $180,000 to $190,000 this year, to advertise and promote tourism in Hilliard.

But other efforts did not go according to plan, including a midsummer festival called Solebrate! that was held the third weekend of June in 2013.

Held in conjunction with the summer solstice, it was envisioned as an annual festival that would fulfill a goal of Hilliard's comprehensive plan to establish a "signature event" and attract a regional crowd.

But the festival lost about $18,000, according to a report provided by Don Byerly, then a member of the board of directors of Solebrate!, to City Council in 2014.

Clark said last week that communication between Hilliard City Council and Destination Hilliard wasn't always smooth but that "it was at its highest point" this year.

Linda Ulrey, president of the board of directors for Destination Hilliard, said last week Clark has assisted in making the transition as seamless as possible.

"Christy has done a great job for us and someone has tough shoes to fill," Ulrey said.

As of July 17, seven people had applied for the executive director position and applications are to be accepted until Friday, July 20, she said.

"We're getting applications from throughout Ohio. It's exciting. We hope to name someone by mid-August," Ulrey said.

Clark's annual salary as executive director upon her departure was $77,067. Ulrey said benefits were $350 a month for insurance payments.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo