CFA considers future plans

Mar. 18—GENEVA-ON-THE-LAKE — The Ashtabula County Convention Facilities Authority hosted a work session on Friday morning, to discuss plans for the organization moving forward.

In past years, the vast majority of the CFA's funds have been used to pay back debt on the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake. H

owever, legislation approved by the state at the end of 2022 allocated almost $14 million to Ashtabula County, to be used to pay for the debt on the lodge, with any of the remaining funds to be used for deferred maintenance on the facility.

Friday's meeting focused on steps forward for the CFA to take.

CFA President Holly Mayernick said she has reviewed the membership of the board, and the city of Ashtabula will be appointing a new member to the CFA board soon.

"If we have an opening, right now, then who is best strategically placed for that," Mayernick said.

The makeup of the board of the CFA is set by the Ohio Revised Code, which requires six board members be appointed by the county commissioners. One of those board members must represent a business trade association in the county and one must be a representative of a convention and visitors bureau in the county.

No more than three of the people appointed to the board by the commissioners can be members of the same political party.

Three board members are appointed by the mayor of the largest city in the county, to be approved by the city council. Two members are to be appointed by mayors of remaining cities in the county.

Ashtabula County Commissioner Casey Kozlowski said the county has received the grant agreement it will need to approve in order to receive the funds. The commissioners are waiting on the agreement to be approved by their legal counsel before acting on it, he said.

"Then, we work out any other final details surrounding the transition, and then, of course, we would await the the funds to be transferred from the state to the county," he said.

The board also discussed the potential of compiling a strategic plan.

"I think we need help from more people in the community than just those of us appointed to this authority," Mayernick said.

She suggested reaching out to some facilitators in the strategic planning process.

Kozlowski said rebranding the CFA in such a way that people understand that bed tax funds collected will be used to support tourism-related projects.

Commissioner J.P. Ducro said the CFA is making an impact on the county using funds from visitors to the county.

"We are improving our lot in life here for the county, for our residents, for our businesses, on primarily the courtesy of visitors," he said.

Commissioner Kathryn Whittington suggested the CFA produce information to help people understand what they do.

Board member Donniella Winchell suggested the CFA create a logo and revise their mission statement.