Ask anyone who has lived in Graves County over the last 40 years anything about Tourism and they’ll bring up Martha Babb. Martha was the original director of Mayfield Tourism Commission and she took her job very seriously. She was instrumental in developing the Commission along with the Mayfield City Council at that time. She was the driving force behind taking the old ice house in town and turning it into the Ice House which houses the Art Guild. It was nothing but a shell of a building and now it is one of the jewels of Mayfield Tourism.
Through the years there have been many women on the Board of Directors of Tourism as well as head up the organization. Today, there are both young and old, who are a part of Tourism because they truly love their community. These women are not interested in attending a meeting once a month and calling it a day. These women actively look for ways that Tourism can make an impact on our community.
The Mayfield Graves Tourism Commission was put in place to promote tourism in Graves County. It is funded by transient room taxes that each person pays who spends the night in area hotels, beds and breakfast, and lodges. It’s not a lot of money for those individuals but if you add it all up each day it can bring some nice revenue into our community. It’s up to the Tourism Board to determine how the money is spent.
Since we only have three hotels in Graves County, and two lodges, we are not rolling in revenue. But if we watch the money, we have we can do a lot. Since our job is to promote Mayfield and Graves County, we like to partner with others who are having events and festivals. Since our Board of seven is strictly volunteer, we don’t have a lot of Human Resources to develop our own events. It just makes sense to work with the City of Mayfield, Graves County Fiscal Court, and other organizations to promote the good things about our community.
I’d really like to introduce you to the women of Tourism.
Jodie Hansen has been on the Tourism Board since 2014. Jodie serves as the President of the Board. She is the Project Manager at Graves County Economic Development and has been interested in Tourism way before she took that job. But she is truly an asset to our Board as she knows the ins and outs and whys of how Tourism affects our economy. Jodie is married to Wayne Hansen and they have two sons.
Tara Straub has been on the Tourism Board since 2014. She and Jodie came on the Board together. Tara serves as Vice-President. Tara is the Physician Recruiter/Marketing Manager for Jackson Purchase Medical Center. She is such an asset in explaining to the rest of the Board what doctors are looking for when they consider relocating to Mayfield. This gives us an insight that we don’t take for granted. Tara is married to John Straub and they have two sons.
Alex Goodman has been on the Tourism Board since 2014. When we had an opening on the Board the Mayor recommended Alex because of her love of the community and her spirit in getting things done. By day, she’s a drug pusher. Seriously, that’s what she tells us. In all honesty she is a Pharmacy Technician at Stone’s Drugs. She loves that job and loves the town of Mayfield. Alex is currently the Treasurer of the Board. Alex is married to Tyler Goodman and they have two dogs.
Dana Heath has tenure on the Tourism Board. As the Executive Director of the Art Guild for years. Dana has a firm seat on the Board, even serving as President for many years. She watches Tourism interact with other organizations in the community and is always looking for ways that we can improve our organization which in turn improves our community. Dana is one of the big-picture members of our Board and by default the Tourism historian. We are glad that she decided to come back to our Board, and we have no intention of letting her leave again. Dana is married to Ric Watson and they have 3 cats.
Cynthia Elder is the Executive Director of the Tourism Board. She hesitates calling herself that, simply because she is the only paid member. Cynthia started as a volunteer Board Member but when Tourism couldn’t really afford even a part time director, she took the ob on as a contract director. This enabled Tourism to save money for office space and expenses, as well as any employee costs. Under this plan Tourism has been able to become fiscally solvent and able to invest those Transient Tax funds back into promoting the community. Cynthia is married to Jimmy Elder and they have 4 children and 5 grandchildren.
To date, these are some of the things that the Tourism Board has been able to do:
- Conducted a Feasibility Study and developed a Hotel Incentive Program to encourage a new hotel in the area
- Helped the City of Mayfield with Glory Days
- Helped the Fancy Farm Vineyard and Winery with Fancy Fest
- Sponsored a Purchase Players production
- Helped with the West Kentucky Ink Festival
- Coordinated the Wooldridge Monument Repairs
- Developed and Promoted the Barn Quilt Trails
- Worked with Graves County High School Tourism Class and the Youth Leadership Tourism Day
- Helped with the Gourd Patch Festival
- Developed a Tourism Blog
- Redid the Tourism Website
- Developed a Community Calendar
- Offered Mayfield and Graves County Souvenirs to the Community
- Coordinated the Wayfinding Sign Program
- Helped with Hoop Fest
- Helped with Winterfest; sponsored the Ice Skating Rink
- Sponsored the Community Ornaments
- Coordinated Advertising
- Offered $1500 in Scholarships to area high school graduates
We would be amiss to fail to mention that we do have a couple of gentlemen on our Board that are true assets. Mike Perkins and Rupert Holmes even out our Board at this time and bring a completely different vision than just a Board of women. We pride ourselves in attempting to be as diverse as possible and to be good stewards of our responsibilities.
You can follow us on Facebook and through our website at http://www.visitmayfieldgraves.org.