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The advertising and promotion commission, Discover Bella Vista, heard back on one of its first grants during its regular meeting last Thursday, Oct. 4.

The commission granted $3,080 for the August tournament during its June meeting and heard a report from tournament chairman Bob Gromatka.

"We set a new attendance record with 276 tables," he said.

It's a 14 percent increase, he said, and brought in players from Kansas, Oklahoma and other nearby states, as well as other portions of Arkansas.

A workshop with well-known bridge player and author Karen Walker, which was funded by this grant, drew 75 attendees, well over the anticipated 40.

Most people traveled to the area and stayed three days, he said, and grant money allowed the tournament to broaden its advertising reach significantly.

Travis Stephens said that players were given a survey and 46 percent of the players were from out of state, and those from Arkansas were from other parts of the state.

Because the meal breaks were relatively short, he said, people who stayed for the event mostly ate in Bella Vista.

Some also stayed in Bella Vista, he said, with some at The Greens and others in vacation rentals.

Gromatka said some might get a vacation rental as a group. People are here to play cards, he said, and less interested in where exactly they stay.

The big concern, he said, is that the event is starting to outgrow Riordan Hall. He's examining other places to host the event and considering splitting it between multiple venues.

"I want to keep the tournament in Bella Vista," he said.

The commission also looked at a preliminary budget, with a projected revenue of $176,540 after the city's 3 percent cut for collecting the tax.

The budget includes some expenses, like the fireworks show, the city has requested the commission take over.

There are also options, Stephens said, to enhance the commission's web presence, but the projected income does not cover all the possible expenses.

General News on 10/10/2018

Print Headline: Advertising commission hears bridge report, considers budget

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