Destination Manchester wants to hear your ideas

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MANCHESTER — A new year brings renewed efforts by the Destination Manchester business group to hear ideas and feedback from the community on how it should go about marketing the town's tourism and business efforts.

The group is hosting an open forum at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 9 at the Taconic Hotel, at which its members will describe their vision for the organization and take ideas from the public.

The public is welcome and is hoping to see new faces, said member Chris Morrow, the co-owner of Northshire Bookstore.

Destination Manchester, which emerged last year as an ad-hoc business group following the demise of the Manchester and the Mountains Chamber of Commerce, has proposed creating a destination marketing organization that would focus solely on promoting Manchester.

The new entity would be established by the Manchester Select Board and a special act of the Legislature, hold its meetings in public and elect its leadership at large.

To fund its activities, it would collect a 10 cent per $100 of valuation tax from commercial properties in town.

Members say the goal is to create a transparent, accountable and effective organization marketing entity that does not replace the Chamber, but fills the need for a voice promoting economic development and tourism. In November, the group presented its vision to the Manchester Select Board, and again a day later at an open forum.

This time, "It will be an expanded version of what we presented last time along with comments from each member of the group," Morrow said.

Morrow said he hopes the meeting will help clarify what the group is all about and what it intends to do.

"There seems to be partial and/or wrong information out there. So hopefully we can have a good discussion about what community members want and their thoughts on what we present," Morrow said.

Reach Greg Sukiennik at 802-490-6000 or on Twitter @gsukiennik_mj.

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