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Tourism Council focuses on events, facilities

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For now, only construction workers know the ins and outs of the Roswell Recreation & Aquatic Center. A soft opening is planned for June. (Christina Stock Photo)

The Roswell Tourism Council met yesterday at the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico Archives building.

After opening the meeting, RTC chair Jane Anglin asked HSSNM director Amy Davis to introduce her guest — Raquel Trevizo, a HSSNM scholarship recipient. “Raquel Trevizo graduated from Dexter High School, was a student of Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell and is now at UTEP (University of Texas-El Paso),” Davis said. “She is going to conquer the world and do great things.”

There were, in total, six scholarship recipients out of 90-plus applicants. “This (Trevizo) is our first ever repeat recipient,” Davis said.

Anglin reported that front line tours on April 17 went well. “We had several new people. We had four in the morning and we had eight in the afternoon. It was very well attended.”

The tours were created by the council for employees in the service industry, informing them about the many sightseeing points of interest and attractions in town so they can pass that knowledge on to visitors.

Kaarina Jaegar and Elaine Dotts have been looking into the availability of walking tour maps. Dotts said there are a variety of maps available already. Instead of creating new maps, she said it would be better to focus on the map itself to make sure it is tourism-oriented.

Juanita Jennings, public affairs director for the city of Roswell, confirmed that the city has walking maps and visitor guides available for free at the visitors center on North Main Street.

“We are also partnering with the State Tourism Department this year,” she said. “They have hired Google DMO (Destination Marketing Organization) and Simplified. We are taking our existing map and turning it into a digital map with pinpoints of local businesses, tourist attractions, in partnership with Google …

“They are offering it to True-certified cities at no cost. Thankfully, last year we passed our certification (by the state of New Mexico). Last July they came and did a tour. We took them to different locations to make sure that we are still promoting our city as a New Mexico True community.”

The map will be available through a mobile app, as well as a website and physical maps in the visitors center and hotels. “The city pays for these maps, they are free for any organization who needs them,” Jennings said. “We are open to any input or edits or revisions. We print quarterly. Our next print date will be Oct. 1. If there are any edits to the current map, we are looking at probably August (as deadline), right after the UFO Festival.”

Jennings reported the Brew at the Zoo event on April 27 at Spring River Park & Zoo was successful, with 107 tickets sold at the door. The Friends of the Zoo and the city partnered and sold out, according to Jennings. “There will be an announcement on June 8 at 1 p.m. at the zoo for the amount of money that was raised, and also another exciting fundraiser that will be coming to the zoo, very similar to Brew at the Zoo. Overall, it was a great event and partnership. We are very lucky to have the Friends of the Zoo who support us and our mission to keep that zoo open,” she said.

Kerry Moore was at the event as a vendor — with Chef Toddzilla’s Gourmet Burgers & Mobile Cuisine. She has experience with events outside Roswell that include serving alcohol. “It was beautiful. The people were happy, there were no issues. I love these events where nothing goes wrong. Food-wise, we were slammed. We sold out of everything. Everybody we interacted with, they loved it and enjoyed it.”

Stevens talked about the Roswell Community Theatre’s last performance, “Southern Fried Funeral,” which had to compete with Cinco de Mayo and the Rise over Roswell Balloon Rally, as well as the upcoming RCLT production of the comedy, “‘Til Beth Do Us Part.”

Guest speaker Donovan Fulkerson provided insight into the Roswell Film Festival earlier this year. The festival branched out to include a wider collection of films. “Each year we have between 40 and 100 people that actually purchase tickets and are involved. The majority of these people are from out of town. …” Fulkerson said.

“This year, we had for the first time a music video that made it into the festival, which was neat. We see everything from the independent filmmaker to large movie productions. Each year, we see things that are budgeted in the thousands all the way up to a $15 million film. We are connected to several major movie houses now.”

Fulkerson considers these connections a big benefit. “I couldn’t do this by myself. It is simply because of the word ‘Roswell.’ If I would have built it in Carlsbad, we wouldn’t have the success we are having,” he said.

Jennings talked about the city’s new branding, with the slogan “We Believe,” which was officially presented to the public on May 2 at the Roswell Convention Center. After Anglin asked about details, Jennings said, “‘We Believe’ is the slogan, the ‘R’ is the brand, an emblem. You will start seeing it around town.”

Jennings said that there are banners going up, some already installed with the new slogan. There is a three-year plan to have these banners throughout the community.

According to Jennings the city’s Engineering Department agreed on changing the two remaining entryway signs that were in fabrication. They will include the new color palette that goes along with the new branding.

“You will see a new rebrand of the website coming in October,” she added.

“… We are still keeping the current city of Roswell logo. That is the city seal and so we will use that for all government, more business-related. This (new) brand is a more of a community brand. You will see more integrated marketing on our social platforms … There are different phases and different layers. There is so much to it,” Jennings said.

There will be also new gift items available at the visitors center, which include temperature-sensitive coffee mugs that reveal the branding when hot liquid is poured in, T-shirts, a new pin and postcards. Any visitor who comes in gets a free postcard.

Regarding the Roswell Recreation & Aquatic Center, Jennings said, “The City Council just passed the new aquatic fees. We do know that there are differences in the recreation and aquatic fees. We anticipate that council will go back to review the recreation fees. It is more beneficial for the public to purchase the aquatic membership versus the recreation membership.”

The annual membership is about $450 annually, Jennings said. This, however, is for a family of six and includes both the aquatic and recreational side, which would be $6.25 per person, per month. According to Jennings, the seasonal and individual ticket costs are listed on the city’s website.

State Rep. Phelps Anderson said he hopes that employees at the new recreation facility will also have training about other attractions in town.

Anderson said that the public will see how affordable the new Recreation & Aquatic center is, and everybody should be patient.

Jennings said that training of employees at the Recreation & Aquatic Center will include customer service training. “They will move into the building on June 10 and we have two weeks of soft opening,” she said. “It will be a secure building because of the children, so people will have to swipe in and out of the building. We are also working with United Pools, because that side is not run by the city. It’s a third party, so we want to make sure that their side meets our standards for professionalism.”

A new online payment process for the Recreation and Aquatic Center and other services is also in place. “You will see roswellconnect.com,” Jennings said. “That is the city of Roswell. It’s called Civic Rec, it’s a platform where people can purchase their memberships online. They don’t have to come to the center other than to get their photo ID for their membership cards. You can sign up for classes at the Roswell Museum and Art Center, you can sign up for camps, aerobics, things like that, everything is online. We would also love feedback, good or bad.”

Upcoming events were discussed, such as Hike It & Spike It. The motels are almost sold out, said Karen Arnold, general manager of Hampton Inn and Stevens, Comfort Suites sales director and president of Roswell’s Hotel Association.

Miranda Howe, representing her own Bone Springs Art Space gallery, the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art and the Miniatures & Curious Collections Museum, said that AMoCA, on Oct. 26, is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a gala. There will be a soup and bowl event benefiting the Miniatures & Curious Collections Museum and Bone Springs Art Space on Sept. 7.

At the end of the meeting Anderson asked if a representative of an energy company in town could be a guest to talk about charging stations for electric cars.

The Roswell Tourism Council next meets on June 17 at 10:30 a.m. at the HSSNM Archives building, 208 N. Lea Ave.

Christina Stock may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 309, or at vision@rdrnews.com.