By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Paper maps still serve a purpose.
An extra $1,600 was added to the Ste. Genevieve Tourism Tax Commission (TTC)’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget in order to add a downtown map to the visitor’s guide the group prints.
During the quarterly joint meeting of the TTC and the Tourism Advisory Council (TAC) on July 19, more than one member emphasized the importance of downtown maps for visitors to carry with them.
Dena Kreitler, who is also executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, said her office staff copies numerous downtown maps for visitors wanting to know what there is to do in Ste. Genevieve.
The proposed FY 2023 budget, bumped from $38,400, to $40,000, was approved unanimously.
RACK CARDS, WEBSITE
Meanwhile, some dissatisfaction was expressed on the new rack cards, the proposed revamping of the tourism website, Tourism Director Jeff Wix’s extended absence and the attitude of National Park Service employees at the Welcome Center.
More than a half hour was spent critiquing proposed revamping of the visitstegen. com website. The members were generally displeased with it, including the use of so many bright colors, a “word jumble,” in the words of Ward 1 Alderwoman Susie Johnson, on the top right of the page, and a lack of drop-down menus.
Complaints were registered on both the website redesign and the new rack card that too much emphasis was being put on dinosaurs and not enough on history – the reason for the Urban Design Levee and the national park.
The proposed website revamping looks much like the new rack cards.
“It seems like they’re trying to match the card,” Lawrence Myers said, “if the card is probably going to be changed in a year or whatever, it’s just making this way too complicated by trying to be like the card.”
“And the card is designed to change; it’s a campaign,” Kreitler said. “The website is not.”
Some dissatisfaction was also expressed over Wix’s prolonged absence. According to City Administrator Happy Welch, Wix has been dealing with personal issues. He has not been on the job for about three weeks.
Audience member Robbie Pratte, property manager for French Colonial America, asked who had designed the rack card.
“Jeff put that together when he first started,” Welch said, explaining that the Ste. Genevieve Museum Learning Center had just opened and that the supply of the previous rack card had run out.
Pratte questioned a statement that Wix had made that 1,000 people evaluated the rack cards and gave their opinions. That survey, Wix said, showed that 61% of visitors come to Ste. Genevieve County to visit wineries.
“Do we have any of that information?” Pratte asked. “Do we have any proof that it was looked at by 1,000 people?”
Welch said he did not, but added that, “I trust my staff to be honest with me and to be honest with this group.”
“Well, your staff told a lot of us that he was working on the websites multiple times and that that was why we couldn’t get ahold of him,” Pratte said. “I just found out that a company was contracted to do it, like two weeks ago.”
Welch said that Wix had been working with the web-development firm, drawing up the overall outline for the website.
“What you’re seeing is the design that he wanted,” Welch said.
“He is absent a lot,” Pratte said. “How can he make a website for Ste. Gen. Tourism when he is rarely around, doing anything?”
“I think that’s not your decision,” Welch replied. “It’s mine as a supervisor.”
“Well, I think I’ve got some weight as a tourism director,” Pratte said.
“I’m sorry, but that’s still in-house,” Welch said. “That’s staff. He’s my employee; I’m responsible for him.”
Pratte complained that the new rack cards “just showed up in mid to late March,” without any input from local historic sites.