The Finney County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau board of directors agreed on Wednesday to continue negotiations with the American Junior Golf Association to renew its contract with the CVB.
The AJGA has been looking to raise the contract agreement from $15,000 a year to $20,000 for a three-year contract that would compensate for a “tough year” last year (2016) and boost funds to a charity that has put pressure on the group’s finances, CVB Executive Director Roxanne Morgan said at Wednesday’s meeting. The AJGA puts on a tournament in Garden City each year in June and has done so since 2013.
Currently, the regional branch of the AJGA manages one grant, the ACE Grant, which provides financial assistance to young men and women seeking to earn a college golf scholarship through competitive junior golf, and contributes to one nonprofit organization, Friends of Buffalo Dunes Inc., a Garden City 501(c)(3) that supports recreation, sports and leisure programs and received tax-exempt status in 2015. Friends of Buffalo Dunes brings in $28,000 annually.
As a compromise, CVB board members have decided to renegotiate the contract as a five-year agreement in which the CVB would pay the AJGA $20,000 in the first two years and $15,000 the remaining three.
“They (would) have that commitment to us for five years,” Morgan said. “We are not really sure what that is going to look like in five years… AJGA is one of the events that kind of started the national and international tournaments. We’d like to continue to keep that.”
Morgan said the AJGA’s events have served as a “catalyst” for bringing other tournaments to the community, such as those hosted by the National Junior College Athletics Association and the Charity Classic.
She noted that the 2017 AJGA tournament attracted participants from six countries and 26 states, adding that the economic impact of this year’s tournament has not yet been determined, but that in 2016, the tournament brought approximately $350,000 in revenue to the county, “and that was a tough year last year,” Morgan said.
Morgan told members of the CVB board that the AJGA negotiators are open to a five-year contract, but that so far only a five-year contract at an annual rate of $15,000 has been discussed.
CVB Board Treasurer Holli Ayala said she would support the change, explaining that, “It would not be very wise for us not to do this.”
“I know how much it brought into the community, having those kids here, how many rooms we had with them,” she said. “I think it would be foolish for us to not go up $5,000 more if it’s just going to keep getting bigger and better and we get it for five years. I think that’s a pretty good return on $20,000.”
The board unanimously agreed to continue negotiations with the AJGA, including the new stipulation.