Mall requests $200,000 from CVB

OXFORD – Members of the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau are weighing ethical concerns before deciding whether to approve a request from The Mall at Barnes Crossing for a $200,000 sponsorship.
The reason is that Jeff Snyder, the mall’s general manager, also sits on the CVB’s board.
The matter came up Monday at the CVB’s annual board retreat at Castle Hill Resort in Oxford.
Neal McCoy, the CVB’s deputy director, said the mall had approached the organization about sponsoring a new visitors center and information center inside the mall.
He said the $200,000 would be split into $40,000 every year for five years, citing a previous presentation from Cindy Childs, the mall’s marketing director.
Childs was unavailable Monday for further comment.
McCoy, who will become the CVB’s executive director July 1, said the center would help the CVB by showing visitors that they can do more in Tupelo than shop at the mall.
However, the board members expressed their concerns about ethical violations, considering that Snyder is the Community Development Foundation representative on the CVB board. He left the room during the conversation Monday.
The board didn’t vote on the request Monday, opting to get advice from the city’s attorney before taking any action.
According to Snyder, the sponsorship would update and move the current information center, which currently offers services such as visitor directions and stroller rental.
Snyder said the vision for the updated visitors center is to give it a new look and add flat-screen TVs to the booth. If the CVB sponsored it, Snyder said a DVD touting Tupelo’s tourism offerings could be played on the televisions.
The specific plan would be ironed out with the sponsor, he said.
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.

Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal