Schoonover out as CVB director

1/18/2013

Convention and Visitors Bureau ready to go a different direction.

Convention and Visitors Bureau ready to go a different direction.

BY SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

Citing a desire to move in a new direction, the Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors and CVB Executive Director Lynn Schoonover parted ways on Thursday.

The board made the announcement following a 45-minute executive session to discuss personnel that was moved from the bottom to the top of Thursday's agenda.

"As a board, we decided we need to look for a new director," Amro Samy, new board chairman, said in announcing Schoonover's departure.

Schoonover did not return calls seeking comment.

In a follow up interview by telephone after the meeting, Samy said Schoonover had resigned, and he reiterated the desire of the board to move in a new direction.

"We want to do more with the community, and what the city needs for events. We're just working on new ideas," he said.

When asked to elaborate, Samy said the CVB wants to bring more events to Garden City and market those events better throughout western Kansas, especially on weekends.

"Weekends in Garden City are a weakness for hoteliers, and we need more activity across the board," Samy said. "Our goal is to see how we can come up with new marketing ideas to market the town, the hotels, the golf courses, as a whole. How can we all get together to have an awesome marketing plan to market Garden City as a whole, because that's going to eventually help everybody out."

Samy indicated the departure did "not really" have anything to do with the ongoing discussions with Finney County Economic Development Corp. about use of the transient guest tax. Samy said the board is going to work with FCEDC, but it wants to find the best way to do it that is in the best interests of the community.

"When we split from the Chamber over a year ago, we said we were going to keep everybody in place for a year. The year was over. We're just going in a new direction," he said.

Samy said the CVB will begin a search for a new director immediately, and the board hopes to have a new executive director in place within 30 days. Events Director Larry Johnson will act as interim director until a new director is hired.

Schoonover has served as CVB director since March 24, 2008. She previously served as director of Beef Empire Days, as well as coordinator for the Southwest Kansas Pro-Am golf tournament.

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