Time to move forward
The air has been cleared, people have had their say, and now it is time to put some effort into how to best utilize the Visitor’s Center in Old Harbor so that it can, without conflict, serve the needs of the entire island.
Block Island, like every other vacation destination, has to fight for every tourism dollar out there. The machinery in place that is used to market the town, and to bring people here, needs to be operating on all cylinders at all times.
The Director of the Chamber of Commerce, Cindy Lasser, has rightfully adopted the position that the past is the past and her group, along with the Block Island Tourism Council, need to work together to keep the island’s economy humming right along.
What this means, more than anything, is that these two groups, along with the Town Council, need to put their heads together about how to staff the Visitor’s Center.
As it stands now, the Chamber has its offices there, and the organization pays the town about $12,000 a year in rent. The fact that the Chamber’s first allegiance is to its dues-paying members makes it awkward, to say the least, given that island guests utilizing the center when they get off the ferry are often-times looking for information outside that immediate purview.
It seems as though creating some entity affiliated with the town, or a combination of the town and the Tourism Council, that would then staff the center without internal conflict is the way to go. Things will have to more or less stay the same this year, but a solution can be found between this year and next.