Tourism Talk

Tourism Commissioner John Oliphant (right) talks with Bill Stevens, executive director of the Cadiz-Trigg County Tourist Commission, during a meeting last week at the tourism offices.

A portion of discussion during a recent meeting of the Cadiz-Trigg County Tourist Commission focused on the need for public restrooms in downtown Cadiz and for improvements needed for the city’s Renaissance Stage.

During the group’s meeting on July 13, Susan Bryant, one of the commissioners and a member of Cadiz City Council, brought up the matter when she noted that “the city would like to see something in the city,” Bryant said.

“All the money has been going out to the complex, and while I think the complex is well-needed and well-used, . . . the idea at the beginning was that it would kind of be divided,” Bryant shared with the other commissioners.

She said city officials are interested in having public bathrooms downtown and in repairing the Renaissance Stage, which is used during tourism events downtown.

A lack of bathrooms is a deterrent for visitors to the community who Bryant said won’t stay downtown without the restrooms, and she said she believes Parks and Recreation has a responsibility to help with the issue.

Bryant noted that it was the understanding of city officials that the city would get some benefit since the funds are collected and distributed by the city.

David Miller, a commission member who also is on the Parks and Recreation board, said he believes the bathrooms are a responsibility of tourism but not of Parks and Recreation.


Commission member John Oliphant said he’s heard a lot of talk about restrooms but not seen much follow-through to bring them about.

Bill Stevens, the commission’s executive director, noted that he is in favor of doing something to help with improvements to the Renaissance Stage area.

“I really think it has to be all of us working together,” he said, adding that “the Renaissance Stage has been talked about the last three years really heavily about needing replacement.”

Stevens said the city needs to take the lead, say what it wants and then bring in partners like the tourism commission and the local Parks and Recreation.

He suggested that public restrooms could be incorporated into the stage area, and he said grants might be available through the Main Street Program.

“We’ve just got to keep trying,” the director said, noting that those addressing the issue need to settle on a goal and work toward it. “We can come together and do things. So now let’s just figure out what we’re going to do next.”

Also at last week’s meeting, the director announced that the commission met recently with the Friends of Tourism, and he said the two groups have decided to move forward with a planned Glow-Cadiz Balloon Festival.

Stevens said the festival will begin at noon Nov. 6 at the runway area at Lake Barkley State Resort Airport and will feature six hot air balloons available for tethered rides.


“Basically, they have a rope and you just go up a certain distance, enjoy the view, then come back down,” he said.

Food trucks and other vendors will be on hand, limited seating will be available, and the Friends of Tourism will sell glow-in-the-dark merchandise at the festival.

Cost for the rides is $15 per person.

Stevens noted that 16 to 18 volunteers also are needed to help with the balloon event.

He said the tourism office, RE/MAX real estate and the county’s bicentennial committee are among those providing balloons; a gas company is donating fuel for the balloons, and Lake Barkley State Resort Park is sponsoring rooms and meals for pilots.

The director also talked about a video crew that visited the community last week from the non-profit group Lakes Region Coalition to make a 30-second video for the coalition website.

Stevens is a member of the coalition, which promotes attractions in the region.

He noted that the coalition crew filmed local attractions like Lake Barkley State Resort Park, Prizer Point, shops in Cadiz and the West Cadiz Park.

Stevens said the commission will receive one video that will be used on the coalition website and can also be used on social media sites. A second video will increase the commission’s video library, Stevens said.

He said he thinks having the videos made is a good investment for the commission. Normally costing around $3,000 to $5,000, these two videos cost $800, he said.

In other business

  • Stevens urged people who are renting vacation properties to register with the tourist commission. He said doing so offers the property owners another avenue for promoting their properties and helps visitors know of accommodations in the area besides hotels and resorts.
  • The director also noted that the commission received more than 1,800 requests in June for information about Cadiz and Trigg County.
  • He said restaurant taxes collected within the city of Cadiz for the 2021 fiscal year totaled $445,497.95, about $3,000 less than the previous fiscal year.
  • The director said the next Cadiz Cruz-In in downtown Cadiz will be Aug. 7.
  • Commission members discussed a tax refund the agency has been providing to the community’s Harper House restaurant, with Stevens noting he would check into the matter and see what the status of the refund is, given recent organizational changes. Stevens said the original agreement was for the commission to provide a 2% refund the first five years the restaurant was in business, down to a 1% refund for the second five years.
  • Stevens said Membership Director Beth Sumner of the Cadiz-Trigg County Chamber of Commerce will be moving into the office of Cindy Sholar, his recently retired administrative assistant, at the tourism office. The commission, chamber and Cadiz-Trigg County Economic Development Commission are housed in the tourism building.
  • The director said the tourism building is going to have to have repairs done to its roof again after a truck ran into the gutters and metal roof just a couple of days after the original roof repairs were finished. The damage “completely messed up what we’d just done,” Stevens told commission members.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or

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