“It’s incentive to stay longer,” Brooks said. Taking care of anchor tenants, while orchestrating an effort to have businesses working together, could help Marion County.
“None of your downtowns are really alive, even during the day,” Brooks said. The importance of having people inside local business, knowledgeable about the area and able to make recommendations to visitors, was also discussed. Brooks said visitors go where residents go when looking for places to eat and recreate.
“I think you have an amazing destination as a county,” Brooks said. He encouraged everyone to focus on finding reasons why something will work, instead of why they won’t. Marion County Development Commission Executive Director Carla Eysink said it will take people to bring even more success to the area.
“It’s not me as a government entity that can make it happen,” Eysink said. “I can’t do what all of you could do.”
In finding a brand for Knoxville, he suggested trying to have the town synonymous with all wheeled sports, not just sprint cars. If Knoxville, which already has Bike Night, Knoxville Raceway, car clubs and a bike trail, tried this brand, it could keep visitors coming all year and not just during race season. Brooks suggested finding a way to incorporate snowmobiles into Knoxville’s branding.
“What moves you” was a suggested slogan. He encourages Knoxville to do what it can to make tourism a year-round industry, beyond the spring and summer. With so many “ghost towns” in America today, Brooks said action is needed to try to avoid becoming one of them.
“It’s time to step up and do something,” he said.
Brooks’ presentation will be distributed to those in attendance. When received, we intend to put it on our website.