Naming Names

January 22, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — The applications are in and soon the 11 members of the West Michigan Sports Commission's Executive Committee will be appointed.

The commission will have 40 members, and Kent County Assistant Administrator Wayman Britt said 60 individuals applied for the 40 non-paying posts.

"There was quite a groundswell of interest and that was really great. People from all walks of life applied, and not just from Grand Rapids but throughout West Michigan. So we really feel good about the interest," he said.

Britt said he hopes to have the executive committee in place by the end of this month, as county commissioners could make those appointments this week. The next step will be to add the remaining 29 members to round out the 40-member commission. Twenty-eight of the 40 slots will go to individuals from organizations that are familiar with tourism or sports, while a dozen persons will be named as at-large members.

"The hope is that we can get that done by the end of February," said Britt.

The commission's first meeting is scheduled to be held in March.

The organization's mission is to boost tourism dollars to the region by attracting sporting events. The commission will have a first-year budget of $475,000, with $200,000 of that total coming from receipts the county gets from its lodging-excise tax.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau is expected to contribute $150,000 to the budget, while the Convention and Arena Authority has approved a $25,000 donation. A private-sector fundraising effort, headed by Peter Secchia, will donate $100,000 to the budget.    

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