Shamokin in talks to pair up with chamber
SHAMOKIN - City officials are in talks with the local chamber of commerce to promote happenings in Shamokin.
There is $8,000 earmarked in next year's recreation fund for a potential contract with Brush Valley Chamber of Commerce, which City Clerk Steve Bartos said represents less than 1/4 of a full-time employee.
That would buy the city about 300 hours of work, he said during a council workshop meeting earlier this month.
The city could look to the chamber to solicit business at the Claude Kehler Community Park, sell advertising on city-owned billboards and develop a promotional campaign for Shamokin using digital and social media.
Other potential projects would be for the chamber to work with the city's mock student council to develop a permanent space for a haunted house for Halloween and work with citizen groups to establish multiple community gardens.
Success would be determined, in part, on benchmarks agreed to by the two entities, if a contract is reached. Bartos used two examples: sell 10 billboard advertisements, rent the Kehler part a minimum of six times and host one chamber event there.
If the minimum benchmarks are met, Bartos said the city would recoup most of the proposed $8,000 spent on the partnership.
Perhaps more valuable would be gauging how much interest out-of-towners have in visiting the city and what potential exists to build upon that.
Bartos pointed to a new development where the chamber could assist. Next summer's Coal Mountain Jeep Jamboree has offered to host its registration somewhere in Shamokin rather than at the entrance of Northumberland County's Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area in Burnside.
There are also indications that a Yamaha event would do the same, he said.
These registrations could be developed into community events with vendors and promoted to attract visitors.
The Jeep Jamboree brought 211 participants in 109 vehicles to the area in August.
Sandy Winhofer, chamber director, declined comment Sunday since contract talks are ongoing.
The chamber board met last week and voted to look further into an arrangement with the city, she said, and a proposed contract has not yet been received from the city.
Winhofer is the chamber's sole full-time employee. She said it does host interns and volunteers throughout different times of the year.
Further details are expected to be discussed by city council at its next workshop session, scheduled for 6 p.m. Dec. 5 at City Hall.