Middlesboro progresses, grows

A theme growth and positivity was apparent at the Sept. 27 Bell County Tourism Board meeting.

Tourism Director Jon Grace stated to the board that Middlesboro continues to set records for generating revenue. It seems that slowly and surely, Middlesboro is establishing itself as a place to visit due to the unique features of the area it’s in close proximity to.

The board assesses transient room tax reports to determine such increases visitor revenue.

The city just had its best August to date.

When discussing the kind of travelers Middlesboro receives on a monthly basis, it was determined many of them are visiting family.

Lincoln Memorial University was also cited as a big draw for the area. The university continues to grow in student population, thus generating a basis for student families to come and visit.

Grace also stated that during fall, travelers are looking for Bed and Breakfast type places to stay instead of the average hotel and that during this period the Middlesboro Bed and Breakfast sees an upswing in patronage.

Grace then addressed the board on the progress of the ongoing ATV trail project that has been in development. While he couldn’t go into many details at the time, he stated he met with the potential investors of the project and stated that “the meeting we had couldn’t have gone any better in my opinion.”

Discover Downtown Middlesboro representatives Bo and Ben Hoe were present at the meeting to discuss the success of this year’s Levitt AMP Music Series and preparations for hopefully securing another grant from the Levitt Foundation for the fourth year in a row.

The last performance of the series is Oct. 5, and before that, the application for the grant must be turned in by Oct. 2. The work in putting together the Levitt show is perpetual-from applying for the grant to booking the acts.

“It’s been awesome. It’s been a lot of fun. But it’s a lot of work, and we feel at this point, especially with tourism, I think everyone is like-minded in that we want to see Middlesboro progress and grow,” said Ben Hoe.

Bo Hoe then spoke to the board about partnering up with the tourism board as another entity to help produce the Levitt Series. Partnerships between entities helps the series grow and makes the Levitt Foundation take notice, which will in turn continue to help Middlesboro in becoming a true destination for not only tourists and travelers, but to its residents as well.

The board unanimously voted to partner with DDM.