By MIKE WEST, Courier Editor
Cannon County Chamber of Commerce has voted to expand its board of directors by adding representatives from Woodbury, Cannon and Auburntown government as ex-officio members.
Additional growth in tourism is one aim of this addition, explained Chamber President Ron Fryar
"What we're looking to do is to add input from Woodbury and Cannon County because they are already making a financial commitment to the Chamber," Fryar said. The Chamber wants to hear from Auburntown as well.
The governmental members will serve as ex-officio (non-voting) members on a year-to-year basis.
"By making them ex-officio members, we will eliminate any conflict of interest," Fryar explained. "But this will allow them to see exactly what we are doing plus hear ideas and suggestions from them."
"We've already talked to Harold Patrick (Woodbury mayor) about the idea and he was enthusiastic to the point where he suggested a candidate for the board," the Chamber president said. "I'm planning to talk with County Exec Mike Gannon and Auburntown Mayor Roger Turney soon."
But before the ex-officio members can be added, the Chamber's by-laws must be altered, which is next on the organization's agenda.
The Chamber already has underway plans to expand tourism efforts in Cannon County.
"Woodbury and Cannon County is in a perfect location to attract visitors on day-trips. With attractions like the Arts Center of Cannon County, the antique stores, Short Mountain Distillery and the Chamber organized car shows we are already a destination for travelers. That idea needs to be expanded with events like the annual White Oak Crafts Fair," he said.
Woodbury and Cannon County are the perfect getaway.
"It offers a day trip where you can enjoy the mountains and scenery. It's a good short trip into Cannon County from most Middle Tennessee areas and it's like going back to a pleasant and serene time while less hectic," Fryar added.
With the help of local officials, the Chamber will be able to fashion and coordinate events on a county-wide basis. The Chamber can take ideas and expand on them.
"For example consider the Kansas City Barbecue competition held at the fairgrounds. It was a success in the sense it drew competitors from across Tennessee, but it was a frustration to area residents who soon discovered they couldn't buy any of the barbecue," he said.
"Now that competition has been dropped, why not instead hold a community-wide barbecue where visitors can enjoy live music and great food?" he asked. That's the kind of event the Chamber is now considering with the assistance of local businesses.
"People can tell Cannon countians love their community and that genuine attitude attracts visitors and keeps them coming," Fryar said.