Muncie Visitors Bureau earns record revenue from local hotels and events

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) -  The Muncie Visitors Bureau saw record earnings in 2013 from hotels filled with more events and will put the money back into economic development and  retire debt.

 Bill Summers, a longtime member of the Delaware County Convention and Tourism Commission, reported more revenue now at $532,120 yearly, to fund visitor and convention operations. The MVB gets one percent of local hotel sales taxes.

That amount, not counting December, is more than $60,000 over 2012 and more during the last 11 years. While the commission credited the management of longtime director James Mansfield, the bureau also saw the return of national softball leagues to the Sportsplex, a Midwest bowling tournament besides all the sports and events associated with Ball State University. And the Academy for Model Aeronautics brings thousands of hobby enthusiasts to the community each year.

 Muncie is looking at gaining another new hotel in 2015 when a new facility is built DWNTWN next to the Horizon Convention Center. The convention center is funded by one percent of food and beverage tax.

 Mansfield recently attended a National Softball Association convention in Panama City, Fla. and secured a girls fast pitch tournament and a World Series event.

And the MVB recently hired Jeff Robinson as special projects manager  to handle other sales and events.

Commission Chairman Jeff Brandon secured support for some of the projects Mansfield mentioned to promote tourism in the community. One is an update of an economic development study to help promote Muncie, and putting down $30,000 to help retire a bond used to build the Sports.

And Mansfield mentioned using other money to build a community room onto the bureau office at 3700 S. Madison St. that would serve the neighborhood. The visitors bureau moved from DWNTWN to a south Muncie bank that was given to the commission.

 Among the members of the commission that represent local events and interests include Ren'a Wagner who leads the Muncie Black Expo, Mike Mueller, who represents classic car events, George Sheridan, owner Gibson's Skating Rink, and Judy Miller, manager at Lee's Inn.