The Convention & Visitors Bureau of Worthington will dissolve and hand over its duties to promote the city to the Old Worthington Partnership, primarily because of a decline in bed-tax revenue.
During a Worthington City Council meeting Nov. 19, the two organizations were supposed to present their respective funding requests as part of the yearly budget process.
However, CVB board president Bill Purpura presented a recommendation that the organization dissolve into the partnership because of the closure and upcoming demolition of the Holiday Inn, 7007 N. High St., and the retirement announcement of executive director Mindy Mace.
"We were hit with a double whammy," Purpura said.
A 6 percent bed tax is assessed on hotels in Worthington, and 66 percent of revenue collected goes to the CVB, with the rest going to the city's general fund. Purpura said the Holiday Inn provided most of the funding for the CVB.
Worthington officials last year approved plans for the Village at Worthington Square, a mixed-use development by Witness Hospitality on the Holiday Inn site, which is off U.S. Route 23 and south of Interstate 270. The development is expected to include a 111-room, 4-story Hampton Inn & Suites, with up to five other buildings that will contain 15,000 to 19,000 square feet of office space and more than 20,000 square feet for restaurants and small service-oriented businesses.
With the Holiday Inn gone, Scott Barter, director of finance for the city, said that the Econo Lodge is the only remaining hotel in Worthington to provide bed-tax revenue.
Barter said that the tax revenue for the CVB would decrease significantly without the Holiday Inn.
According to records from the city, the Econo Lodge generated $26,796.74 in bed-tax revenue for 2017 and the Holiday Inn generated $158,638.40 for the same year. The two hotels generated $185,435.14 for the year, and the CVB received $122,387.18 from the total amount.
For 2018, before it closed last summer, the Holiday Inn generated $81,813.49 in bed-tax revenue, according to city documents. The Econo Lodge has generated $13,294.66 through October. The revenue from both hotels is $95,108.15, and the CVB would receive $62,771.37 of that total.
City Manager Matt Greeson said the current account balances of the CVB total about $170,000, which would go back to the city. Purpura recommended the funds be returned to the city and distributed to the promotion of tourism in Worthington.
Council President Bonnie Michael said that tourism funds would be appropriated to the Old Worthington Partnership separately.
The CVB has had a contractual agreement to carry out the services of CVB's executive director with the Old Worthington Partnership since June, which was set to run until December, according to Annina Parini, executive director of the Old Worthington Partnership.
"It'll be quite transformational for our organization," Parini said.
Council members expressed their support in working on the transition, and the city will be responsible for the redistribution of funds. The CVB board voted Nov. 2 to dissolve its corporation by the end of the year.
"I think that there's been a lot of improvements and good things happening," Michael said, referring to the time in which the two organizations have been working together.
"We wouldn't have even considered this five years ago," Purpura said.