Flower opened the meeting with welcoming remarks and introduced visitor Sherra Witt. The devotional was given by Cathy Elkins. She read a selection titled “A Compliment.”
After the luncheon, Mary Charles Blair, vice president, introduced the speaker, Melissa Woody, vice president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau at the Cleveland-Bradley Chamber of Commerce.
Woody provided the group with an informative and enthusiastic look at the present and future work of the Convention and Visitors Bureau through her talk and slide presentation.
She indicated a major growth rate in Chamber membership and the economic impact of tourism in the area.
As part of the advertising plan for the Convention and Visitors Bureau, two new brochures are available. “Put Us On Your Plate” is a guide to the Ocoee Region. “Your Passport to Explore Cherokee Heritage” describes Cherokee sights of Bradley County, Cleveland, Charleston and surrounding areas. These were passed out to RTA members present. Other advertising plans include magazine articles; a website (visitclevelandth.com); hosting travel journalists, and familiarity tours.
Woody discussed product development at the state and local level. At the state level, she mentioned Civil War Trails, Tanasi Trail, Appalachian Trail, Heritage Quilt Trail and the Hiwassee River Blueway. She highlighted the following events and attractions in the Cleveland-Bradley and Charleston areas: Antiques and Collectibles, Downtown Walking Tour, Cherokee Passport, and the future development of a Gospel Music Heritage/Church Hymnal event.
Product development events in Cleveland such as the Evening Shade Concert Series, Main St. Cruise-in, MainStreet Farmers Market, Cleveland Apple Festival, Halloween Block Party, Christmas Tree Lighting, Carols in the City, and the Christmas Parade were described.
Events in Charleston included the Historic Home Tour, 50th anniversary of Wild River Days, 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, and the Cowpea Festival and Cook-off to be held on Sept.13.
Other points of interest included in Woody’s remarks were Red Clay State Historic Park, the Museum Center at Five Points, the opening in May of 2013 for the Charleston Heritage Center and the development of historic Fort Cass, the military headquarters for the Trail of Tears operation.
In relationship with the Center for Historic Preservation, the Fort Cass area is being looked at for a potential National Park Concept Plan.
In closing, Woody took questions from the group.
During the business portion of the meeting, minutes were read by Carolyn Goins, secretary. Joy Yates, treasurer, presented the treasurer’s report which was approved. Flower called for a report from the scholarship committee on the Ann Guthrie Martin Scholarship and discussion followed. Goins asked the members to remember the families of Alma Jean Gilliland, Jena Norman and Madge Lockhart and the contribution each made to education.
Yates recognized new members David Robinson, Al Miller and Pat Clifton. The president announced the TRTA meeting to be held on April 22.
The next meeting will be June 12, 11:30 a.m., at Westwood Baptist Church. The local association meets bimonthly and membership in open to any retired teacher.