Albert Rukwaro
Special to The Gardner News
The Gardner City Council approved a $150,000 agreement with the Gardner-Edgerton chamber of commerce for business and tourism services during a council meeting Jan. 7.
The agreement, which will run through the year, is $115,000 more than the $35,000 the chamber received from the city last year.
According Mathew Wolff, finance director, the increased budget allocation will fund tourism services for the community.
He said the funding will in part be drawn from transient guest tax revenue the city will get once the Hampton Inn opens later in the year.
“The city shall pay the chamber the sum of $115,000 for tourism services payable by an invoice schedule to be developed in conjunction with city staff after the Hampton Inn opens,” he said.
Wolff said the money includes $15,000 for recreation event promotion that will be used in cooperation with the parks and recreation department and the city’s communications manager.
Jason Camis, chamber CEO, told the council that the chamber will form a new tourism promotion organization in conjunction with the economic development council.
He said the new Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) will conduct a visitor profile study from which a tourist marketing strategy will be developed.
“The visitor profile study serves as the backbone to understanding who our target demographic is, where they come to Gardner from and how much they spend while they are here,” said Camis.
He said the marketing plan will identify local opportunities for promotion in order to drive traffic to attractions, events and businesses that encourage visitor spending.
Camis said the schedule for this year’s spending is fluid since the timeline for the opening of the Hampton Inn is unknown.

Bristol Groupe, LLC
During the same meeting, the city approved the execution of a funding agreement with the Bristol Groupe LLC to fund a feasibility study for a proposed residential and mixed use development.
The agreement allows the city to hire outside counsel and other consultants to evaluate the project and conduct financial due diligence to ensure protection of the taxpayers.
Wolff told the council that Bristol Groupe is responsible for all reasonable costs associated with the evaluation of the proposed project and will reimburse the city for the costs.
“The applicant will make an initial $20,000 deposit as a retainer for the city to begin the evaluation,” he said.
Bristol Pointe Project is located at: Northeast corner of Waverly Rd and West Sante Fe St., West Sante Fe St. between Oakwood Manor and Waverly Pt subdivision; east and west of North Stone Creek Dr., north of Lincoln Ln.