After reading the April 1 edition of the Herald Weekly, in which Huntersville Commission Ron Julian lambastes the viability of Visit Lake Norman, I felt I had to respond to his unfounded and caustic criticisms.
I have been a volunteer Ambassador at the aforementioned agency for four years. I am not aware whether or not Commissioner Julian has ever taken the time to observe the staff on a day-to-day basis to ascertain what is actually undertaken there. The salaried personnel employed by Visit Lake Norman work tirelessly to accommodate their constituents’ needs and requests. For him to insinuate that this agency is not viable is ludicrous.
On a daily basis, there are telephone, email and walk-in inquiries made by local and out of state people who intend to visit the region in the near future. Visit Lake Norman is truly instrumental in bringing various conventions, recreational, social and sporting events to our area.
Additionally, they work arduously with hotel/motel, restaurant and other pertinent staffs who represent these events in order to accommodate their needs and requests.
For Commissioner Julian to imply that most of our visitors come here to see Discovery Place Kids is misguided, since the aforementioned recently opened museum generally services a younger population. In that regard, the Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatic center requires a paid membership in order to participate, so why would people from out of the area even go there unless they are attending or participating in a swimming event?
In response to Julian’s comments about paying rent that he considers high, I know from experience the importance of being located on a main thoroughfare and presenting a clean, organized appearance. We frequently have people come in to get information about our area as they are looking to relocate their family or business here. Some, too, want to return to vacation here. And, many Realtors frequent our space, in order to obtain area informational publications, pamphlets and maps for their clients. Does Commissioner Julian want the public to walk into a cramped and unsightly Visitors’ Center because the rent is cheaper, thereby giving the wrong impression?
Finally, for Ron Julian to insinuate that the relationship between the Chamber of Commerce and Visit Lake Norman is “too close” is misguided. These two agencies share parallel and common goals such as helping our area to grow and prosper. Subsequently, both, in turn benefit from being located in close proximity to the other.
In my opinion, Commissioner Julian needs to reconsider his position. I wonder if his criticisms are, in some way, based on political grandstanding?
– Linda M. Gore, Huntersville,
Ambassador for Visit Lake Norman