The Ely Times

Mayor Melody Van Camp and City Administrator Robert  Switzer, and the Nevada Northern Railway President, Mark Bassett were the requestors for this agenda item to go before the City Council: the approval of Nevada Commission on Tourism Grant Agreement to be approved in the amount of $28,000 to fund the Roger Brooks’ Assessment project.

Mark Bassett met with VanCamp and Switzer and he noted that there were concerns whether or not the city would have to come up with the funds to match this grant.

Bassett noted that the city has the opportunity to use multiple volunteers, or just use one volunteer with the grant. Then the city can match with in-kind services, so the grant is written about bettering the city of Ely, and of the tourism committees that would be volunteer time, in addition to utilizing public service volunteers.

He mentioned that he believed the guidelines were pretty flexible.

Bassett said “Roger Brooks has done an evaluation on every community in Nevada except one, Ely, when he does these evaluations it’s not just for tourism but for quality of life for the people that live in the community”.

While Bassett stood before the council he said “if the council votes to accept this grant, I need to warn you right now, this is just the first baby step, doing the assessment with Roger, this is just the beginning, this is going to be a long path to do this but this will make major changes to the community.”

Councilman Ernie Flangas was very apprehensive to the thought of the project. He said, “I have went to one of his seminars, what are we going to get a two and a half hour lecture from Brooks?”

Bassett quickly replied with “I can prove, time and time again where a program started by Roger Brooks, and it made a major impact in the community.”

Flangas asked what proof did Bassett have? Bassett gave Rollins, Wyoming, as an example. They worked for two years and became the Main Street Project of the year. Bassett said “The state of Nevada has paid Roger Brooks to do an assessment and the only city that hasn’t received an assessment is the city because they have turned it down.”

Volunteer hours would have to be tracked through this process, but it is possible. Councilman Sam Hanson spoke about a presentation of Brooks that he sat through last year, but Flangas was still not convinced.

“Wouldn’t it be beneficial for us to start this ourselves instead?” Flangas said. “What is the first thing you see when you drive in from any side of town? Junkyards, I see just exactly what is wrong, and we have tried to correct it and it hasn’t been successful.”

Bassett mentioned that one of the parts of the assessment by Brooks would be the need for ordinances, the creation of new ones and enforcement with them. Bassett said, “They would need to have some teeth to them, and after awhile you would see some change”.

For more than 30 years Roger Brooks has helped transform ordinary places in extraordinary destinations. He has worked with a thousand communities around the world, guidingthem in their branding, marketing and product development to make a better community. He’s worked with cities such as Caldwell, Idaho; Alpena, Michigan; Deadwood, Sout Dakota; Ogden Utah; Walnut Creek, California; and many others.

Councilman Kurt Carson agreed, saying that he they have to start somewhere in the right direction. Carson moved to approve the tourism grant agreement for $28,000 to go towards Roger Brooks, Councilwoman Jolene Gardner seconded, everyone but Flangas voted for the approval on this item.