(Daily News (Jacksonville, NC) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) July 25--The Museum of the Marine, which has not begun construction, will receive $16,500 of city occupancy-tax revenue, the Jacksonville Tourism Development Authority decided by unanimous vote Thursday afternoon.
The authority met at Jacksonville City Hall to consider requests for funding per state law requires the tax on lodging becomes revenue to promote local tourism, said Assistant City Manager Glenn Hargett, who serves as staff to the authority. Jacksonville has 2,172 rooms for lodging at 27 businesses, Hargett added.
Museum of the Marine Executive Director Dave Brown said the allocation of money sparked optimism during the museum's board of directors meeting Thursday afternoon.
The money will be used to initiate a public-relations campaign in New York City, he said.
"We estimate that 30 percent of all Marines and sailors in the Carolinas come from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut," Brown said. "They have a lot of money up there."
The nonprofit initially had requested $33,000 from Jacksonville Tourism Development Authority for a New York City consultant, Eden Gordon Media, which cited the following immediate goals for the museum in a proposal for services:
- "To identify a national spokesperson and, if that person is approved by the Museum of the Marine, to work with that individual to educate them on the messaging of the museum in addition to helping them start getting media attention."
- "To develop a public relations effort focused on the New York City and Tri-State region in order to establish a positive presence in the media and to acquire endorsements from no less than three celebrities with a mix of political and military renown."
The consultant also lists future goals in the proposal for services for the museum:
- "To assist the overall health of the organization by introducing Museum of the Marine to potential fundraisers in the New York City region."
- "To create fundraising awareness via public relations."
- "To strategically pitch media outlets that speak to specific demographics known to be interested in the mission of the Museum of the Marine."
Monthly "professional network services" would cost $3,500, according to the proposal. Travel expenses "to and from New York City based outreach" New York City would be $2,000 monthly.
Hargett, who is on the tourism authority board, said the request was approved in light of hoteliers that have commented that "this is seen as a worthwhile destination.
"For a family or loved ones of a military member visiting, this is yet another place for them to see during their stay," Hargett said.
Hargett said the authority did not see fit to authorize the entire amount requested.
The money will be reimbursed when the museum shows documentation of the services provided and receipt of payment to the consultant, Hargett said.
Brown said $20 million is needed to create the museum, which he said soon would sign a lease agreement for six acres at Lejeune Memorial Gardens.
He said an individual donor already has been identified in New York.
"We're going to start with this one guy," Brown said. "I feel certain we're going to see some really good things."
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