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					                                          Minutes
                       State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission
                             Old Washington Historic State Park
                                    Washington, Arkansas
                                     October 16-17, 2003

Commissioners Present

Billy Lindsey, Chairman            Bill Barnes – Thurs. Only           Jim Gaston
Loretta House                      Debbie Haak                         Danny Ford
Jane Christenson                   Polly Wood Crews                    Jim Shamburger
Ness Sechrest – Thurs. Only        Mike Mills – Thurs. Only            Jane Christenson
Wade Williams

Commissioners Absent

Steve Arrison                      Montine McNulty

Department Staff Present

Richard W. Davies, Executive Director
Larry Cargile, Central Administration Director
Joe David Rice, Tourism Director
Greg Butts, State Parks Director
Nancy Clark, Assistant Tourism Director
Stan Graves, Manager, Planning & Development
Mac Balkman, Manager, Operations
Joan Ellison, Public Information Officer
Charles McLemore, Manager, Research/Tourist Information
Connie Gardner, Real Estate Officer
Jon Brown, Region I Supervisor
Marcel Hanzlik, Region III Supervisor
Tony Perrin, Region II Supervisor
Jim Cannon, Region IV Supervisor
Ed Smith, Superintendent, Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park
Lee Howard, Superintendent, Millwood State Park
Grady Spann, Superintendent, Old Washington Historic State Park
Billy Nations, Interpreter, Old Washington Historic State Park
Gloria Robins, Executive Assistant
Sandy Burch, Administrative Assistant
Darice Nations, Region IV PASC

Agency Staff Present

Shelby Woods                       Karen Mullikin                      Libby Doss

Aristotle

Marla Johnson Norris               Jonathan Eudy                       Dina Crane Pruitt
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 2

Guests Present

Paul Henley, Mayor, Old Washington
Jim McCall, Executive Director, Arkansas Broadcasters Association
Pat Wilcox, Arkansas Broadcasters Association
Mr. and Mrs. Russell Black, Prairie Gove, Arkansas

Call to Order

        Chairman Lindsey called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m. and Gloria Robins called the
roll.

Approval of the Agenda

               Ness Sechrest moved to approve the agenda. Loretta House seconded
        and the motion carried.

Presentation of Minutes from Previous Meeting

               Jim Shamburger, referring to the section covering the Marketing/Communication
Presentation, said the word “caption” should be stricken from the motion he made.

              Jim Shamburger moved to approve the minutes with changes. Wade
        Williams seconded and the motion carried.

Recognition of Guests

       Chairman Lindsey recognized and welcomed guests in attendance. Superintendent Grady
Spann welcomed everyone to Old Washington Historic State Park. Chairman Lindsey
complimented the renovation of the 1914 School House, and said it is a very impressive
building.

Financial Report

      Larry Cargile presented a fiscal year-to-date financial report for the period ended
September 30, 2003. The Parks Division expenditures, including construction/grants, totaled
$14,485,691 or 15% of the annual budget. Tourism Division expenditures totaled $2,248,913 or
18% of annual budget. Keep Arkansas Beautiful expenditures were $115,486 or 15% of budget.
Administration Division expenditures totaled $531,762 or 22% of budget. History Commission
expenditures were $324,297 or 25% of budget. Total Department expenditures - $17,706,149.

Parks Division operating revenue for the month of September totaled $1,120,208, a 4% decrease
from last September. Fiscal year-to-date operating revenue showed a 1% increase over the same
period last year.
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 3


              Ness Sechrest moved to approve the financial report. Jane
       Christenson seconded and the motion carried.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT

Arkansas Quarter Celebration Update

        Richard Davies called the Commissioners attention to the Governor’s October 13th
newspaper column in which he talked about the upcoming Arkansas Quarter Celebration. The
event will be held on October 28th at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Mr. Davies said it is an
event of the Governor’s office and the U.S. Mint. Over 2,000 students have already RSVP'd
reserved seating, and there will probably be that many that will be in the over-flow area. The
event will unveil the Arkansas State Quarter. Mr. Davies outlined the schedule of events at the
park and in Murfreesboro during the afternoon and evening. The Governor’s column also talks
about the tourism advertising plan, how much he liked it and how important it was to Arkansas.
The Governor also mentioned Joe David Rice’s award as Tourism Director of the Year.

Entertainers Hall of Fame Ceremony Report

       Richard Davies said that on October 3rd an induction ceremony was held at the Pine Bluff
Convention Center. The inductees were Barbara Hendricks, Walter Norris, John Grisham,
William Grant Still, Freeman Harrison Owens, Steve Stephens and Ronnie Dunn of Brooks &
Dunn. Steve Stephens, Walter Norris and Ronnie Dunn attended.

Legislative Subcommittee Meeting – October 22

        Richard Davies said the Legislative Subcommittee Meeting will be held on October 22nd
at the Arkansas Hospitality Association show in the afternoon following the opening of the
exhibit hall. There will be two agenda items: one will be Destination Arkansas and the other
will be a review of the Spring/Summer advertising campaign the Commission approved in
September.

City of Washington Welcome and Update – Mayor Paul Henley

         Mayor Paul Henley welcomed the Commissioners to Washington. Mayor Henley said
that although Old Washington Historic State Park is in Washington, Arkansas, the entire city of
Washington is not a state park. He stated his concern was for the future of the city because of
the situation it has been trust into. Washington, just like any other city, has to service its
constituents and the biggest constituent is the state park. At one time the population of
Washington was between 2,500 and 3,000 but the population has decreased to 149.
City governments in Arkansas are given opportunity to raise money to provide services. The
City has a 1¢ sales tax which provides approximately $7,000 annually, and the city receives part
of the County’s 1¢ sales tax. The other means to provide funds for the City is through property
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 4

taxes. The state park does not pay property taxes, however the City provides services to the park
that include the volunteer fire department, street maintenance, water system, code enforcement,
animal control, etc. An example of loss of revenue to the City was when a private home, that
was on the market, was purchased by the park for employee housing and it is now off the tax
rolls. However, the City is still providing services to that residence. Mayor Henley said this is
an example of how the City continues to have less and less revenue and he does not know how
much longer the City can provide services at the current level. One example of the expenses the
City faces every day is that is does not have the money to repaint the water tower. Mayor Henley
said what is good for the City of Washington is also good for the state park, but he is concerned
about the future of the City.

        Billy Lindsey said he appreciated the Mayor’s candid comments. Richard Davies said,
from our perspective, we don’t want the city to die, either. We would be willing to find things to
partner with the City and find some expenses that, perhaps, the State could help with. In most
instances, a state park has a positive influence on the community rather than a negative one. Mr.
Davies said the Department could not afford payment in lieu of taxes, state-wide. The City of
Washington is a different situation in that the park is in town. Mr. Davies said we are more than
willing to work with the City to find areas in which the State would have a legitimate reason to
partner for in order to keep services available. That is the way we need to approach it.

       Billy Lindsey said we have acquired more property that is off the tax roll and into the
park system and yet we are still a user of the facilities the City provides. Mr. Davies said it is in
our best interest to help the City. Mike Mills said if we own such a large percentage of the town
we ought to partner because it is in the best interest of state and the community.

       Greg Butts said we had cost shared to put the water system in Washington in the early
80s. There are partnerships we can pursue. Mr. Butts said a plan could be put together and
brought to the Commission for review.

        Debbie Haak asked about the areas in which the park system has partnered or paid for in
the past. Jim Cannon said the park has helped the City with labor and the loan of equipment but
he could not recall any specific funds. Richard Davies said we could continue to do that.

        Jim Gaston said he agrees with what everyone has said, but those are short term
solutions. Mr. Gaston asked if there was any way in which the Commission could encourage
business to come in and capitalize on Old Washington. The City has to have an economic base.
Mr. Gaston said we have to be very opened minded because we are tied together. If the City
ceases to exist, the park’s cost to operate increases. Mr. Gaston asked if there is enough traffic in
Washington to support free enterprise. Mayor Henley said several small businesses have opened
but haven’t stayed long. Mr. Gaston asked the Mayor where he saw Washington in ten years.
Mayor Henley said they need to increase the population by opening property to encourage people
to move to Washington. Washington has everything but a sewer system, and new roads need to
be build but grants aren’t available for streets. Mr. Gaston asked what the Mayor sees as the role
of the Commission in helping. The Mayor said it is the streets that pose the biggest problem and
the City does not have the money to open new streets. Then property could be developed.
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 5

        Richard Davies said the State law says the highway department is responsible for
building a road to a state park and for the maintenance of the primary roads within a state park.
Mr. Gaston asked if parks took the major roads on both sides of state park property –
Washington deed those roads to the park. Would we be picking up a liability for the
Department? Mr. Davies said, yes. The highway department decides which roads it considers to
be the ones it should maintain. Mr. Gaston said he believed the full Commission would agree
with him in that it wants to do everything it can to protect Washington. But we don’t want to do
anything that will hinder the future of state parks. Richard Davies said we can meet with the
City and figure out what things the City needs to get done and what kind of resources we might
have to help as a partner. Mr. Gaston said both the park and the City of Washington are unique
but we have to be careful not to create a precedent and hurt the entire park system. Bill Barnes
suggested that Greg Butts meet with Mayor Henley and look at the various operating costs of the
City and how they mesh with the park. From that meeting, develop a list and come to the
Commission with a proposal on ways we could help. There are lots of ways where we have
opportunities to help, pick up some of the cost and maybe there is a way to get it into the park’s
budget. That would be a partnership effort on our part and an overhead item we would otherwise
be incurring, anyway. Mr. Barnes complimented the Mayor in the manner he addressed the
Commission. It is better to start working on problems before they are a crisis.

              Polly Wood Crews moved to direct staff to meet with officials in
       Washington, Arkansas and discuss ways to partner with the City. A list is to
       be developed and brought to the Commission for review. Debbie Haak
       seconded and the motion carried.

PARKS DIVISION

Mt. Magazine Finance Committee Report

        Committee Chairman, Ness Sechrest, said Committee members who attended were Jane
Christenson and Jim Shamburger. The purpose of meeting was to make a decision as to whether
or not to go with a fixed or variable bond rate. The fixed rate would be 4.26% and .93% for a
variable rate. It was the decision of the Committee to recommend to the Commission to go with
a fixed rate, 20-year bond issue. At the request of Chairman Sechrest, Larry Cargile explained
the variable and fixed rate options and the debt service impact on the 1/8¢ program.

        Jim Gaston said no one will know, for twenty years, which was the right decision
(variable rate or fixed rate). Mr. Gaston said he prefers a fixed rate because it is a predictable
cost. History may be repeated and interest rates will increase to 10% to 15% . Mr. Gaston said
there needs to be a fixed cost because the State cannot react as fast to market changes as a private
corporation. Jane Christenson said Mr. Gaston’s points were the same as discussed by the
Committee and it was felt that knowing what the annual fixed cost would be is best. Greg Butts
said during discussions two years ago, we were talking about $4 million annually for debt
service. The operation budget that was approved for the current biennium reflects that. Richard
Davies said the point is we can’t go wrong either way because the fixed rate interest is low at
4.2%.
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 6


              Jane Christenson moved to approve a 20-year fixed interest rate on
       the bond issue for the Mt. Magazine State Park lodge and cabin construction
       project. Jim Shamburger seconded the motion.

         Wade Williams said there is another option to consider. It makes good sense to go with
the fixed rate. The projected 1/8¢ funds for the current fiscal year is approximately $20 million.
We have the option to postpone other projects for approximately 18 months and have the money
to build the project for cash and save approximately $13 million in interest. Greg Butts said that
could be done but the major maintenance, capital equipment and operation expenses from the
1/8¢ amount to about $6 million annually and would end. Mr. Williams said then it would take a
little longer to pay cash for the lodge project. We are discussing a $36 million project and we
have the ability to pay for it and save some money. Mr. Williams said there are enough projects
currently underway; essentially what we would be doing is that while we gathered the money for
Mt. Magazine, we would just not start any new construction projects elsewhere. Billy Lindsey
said he liked what Mr. Williams said, but the $13 million that would be saved in interest over the
next 20 years could go into some of the other projects. Mr. Lindsey said we need to give some
consideration to what Mr. Williams said. Mr. Gaston said he agreed with Mr. Williams in
theory, however, we are trying to establish things as being firm over 20 years that are not firm.
If the economy has another down-turn, it will affect 1/8¢ revenues. It is dangerous to base a
project on projections. Danny Ford said, if we did what Mr. Williams suggested, what would we
say to the other people out there who we’ve made promises to? Mr. Davies said by the time we
save the money to pay cash for the project, the cost will have increased. Mr. Williams said we
are talking about tying ourselves down for 20 years for $2.7 million annually. Paying cash, we
only have to worry about 2 ½ years’ projections. It is more certain that we can accumulate cash
for the project than that we will have a stream of income for the next 20 years. Because we have
the cash flow we can look at other options. We don’t necessarily have to do a $36 million bond
issue. It may make sense to do a $20 million bond issue and pay the balance in cash. Jim
Gaston said he really appreciates everyone discussing this because it makes the Commission
exceptional. Mr. Gaston asked how much more than $36 million would the project be if we were
to re-bid the project 24 to 36 months from now. Mr. Ford said if we do what Mr. Williams is
suggesting, how much more would the projects cost that would be delayed?

               Polly Wood Crews called for question on the vote.

       Billy Lindsey said what we are voting on is for a fixed rate, not the amount. Therefore,
we if we decide on a fixed rate we could still consider Mr. Williams’ suggestion. Mr. Lindsey
said everyone needs to keep in mind that as recently as 1982, we were paying 10% interest.

              A vote on the motion was taken. The motion passed with Bill Barnes
       voting against.
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 7


Arkansas Broadcasters Association – Winter 2003 TV & Radio Spots

        Joan Ellison presented the proposed two television and three radio advertising spots for
Winter 2003. The new spots include one new television and two new radio ads. Ms. Ellison said
the ads promote winter activities in parks, cabins, and the Arkansas State Parks Guide. The ads
remind Arkansans that the parks are here for them and the timeless beauty of the natural state.

              Jim Gaston moved to approve the Winter 2003 television and radio
       ads as presented. Danny Ford seconded and the motion carried.

Renewal of Grant Partnership Agreements

a) Arkansas Broadcasters Association Partnership Agreement

         Greg Butts said it is a pleasure to request approval to renew the Broadcasters Association
Partnership Agreement. Television and radio stations throughout Arkansas will contribute at
least $300,000 in value of in-state coverage for state parks in exchange for a $75,000 partnership
grant. TV and radio stations throughout Arkansas continue to exceed the $300,000 (three to one
ratio) requirement of the contract. Year-to-date contributions for the first three quarters of the
current 2002-2003 program total $933,230.17. Last year’s contributions were $1,009,575.85.
Mr. Butts introduced Executive Director, Jim McCall. Mr. McCall assumed the position of
Executive Director in the early part of 2003 replacing Pat Wilcox. Ms. Wilcox is semi-retired
and will be working part-time coordinating the grant partnership program. Mr. McCall said his
experience with the association has been very rewarding. The results of the grant partnership
program are astounding and it is anticipated that at the end of this year’s fourth quarter, the value
of coverage for state parks will exceed $1.1 million.

             Jane Christenson moved to approve a one-year renewal of the
       Arkansas State Parks/Arkansas Broadcasters Association Partnership Grant
       Agreement. Loretta House seconded and the motion carried.

b) Arkansas Press Association Partnership Agreement

        Greg Butts said it is a pleasure to also request approval to renew the Arkansas Press
Association Partnership Agreement. For a purchase of up to $75,000 worth of advertising space
in APA member newspapers, the publications will contribute the equivalent amount of ad space
free-of-charge. The value of the in-state two-to-one display ad program will total approximately
$150,000. The APA program also includes a clipping service.

             Polly Wood Crews moved to approve a one-year renewal of the
       Arkansas State Parks/Arkansas Press Association Partnership Grant
       Agreement. Loretta House seconded and the motion carried.
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 8


Village Creek State Park – Proposed Contract with Wellington International

        Greg Butts said that following the last Commission meeting there were several
recommendations to the proposed contract. The items discussed included the length of the lease,
whether or not the lease should contain a reserve fund to cover major repairs and renovations, the
rental payment to the Department, standards of operation for the lodge and golf course, and a
performance bond to cover the golf course and lodge should the owners default. Steve Jarrard
responded to each area – the lease term be 30 years initially with a 25-year renewal, that the
reserve fund remain at 4% of gross revenue on the entire project including the golf course,
saying that was the standard in the industry, suggestions on the Department’s investment in the
golf course. Mr. Butts said in the response to the RFP, Wellington initially proposed the
Department build an 18-hole golf course. After Andy Dye looked at the site, he recommended a
27-hole course. The 1996 1/8¢ plan included $3 million in FY03 – FY05 for renovating a
campground and an 18-hole golf course and pro-shop. The study done by Jack Caston said a
signature course would cost approximately $5 million, exclusive of the pro-shop. Andy Dye was
comfortable with $7 million for a 27-hole signature golf course that would exclude the pro-shop
and maintenance facility that are within Wellington’s proposal for the lodge. From a revenue
producing and operational standpoint, a 27-hold course would be best. Mr. Butts said we do not
have $7 million at this time. The Lake Ft. Smith project is one year behind schedule. The City
will be ready to go to bid in the Spring of 2004 and the lake will be finished filling the Summer
of 2006 and the park finished at the same time. The original estimate was $7 million which we
would then pay the City of Ft. Smith. The City recently indicated the Department’s share may
increase to $10 million. Staff are evaluating reducing the costs. Mr. Butts said it is his
recommendation to look at financing options for developing the golf course. The proposal from
Wellington is 50% of the net profit on greens fees. The PKF study indicates that the greens fee
revenue would be $1.1 million for FY06. We could look at a percent of gross on the golf course
to insure that we have enough money over a period of time. If we look at the $687,00 annually
to maintain the golf course, this amount would be needed as a maintenance bond should
Wellington default. Wellington does not want to have a large sum of money sitting in a reserve
account.

         Jim Gaston said, with regard to the 50% of the net profit, he would rather have 10% off
the top instead of 50% off the bottom. Mr. Gaston said he has a problem with their comment on
the performance bond. He would not use his personal money without a performance bond and
he questions whether the Commission would be protecting the Arkansas taxpayer without some
kind of a performance bond on golf course. Mr. Butts said if our money is in the golf course,
that is where we should have the performance bond. Mr. Gaston said a performance bond on the
golf course is an absolute must. If Wellington were to default on the lodge, it would come back
to us and we might have a high cost in refurbishing, etc. Though we could live with it, we don’t
want an empty lodge. Jim Shamburger said he agrees, somewhat, with Mr. Gaston and is real
worried about the golf course. If things were to go bad, we have to cover ourselves on the golf
course. Whoever finances the lodge will hire a management company because they would not
want to operate it. Mr. Gaston said what concerns him most is the projection of 60% occupancy
the first year. Chairman Lindsey said 60% is a big number. Mr. Butts said one of the things in
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 9

the proposed contract is that Wellington would not make a payment to the Department until the
third year. The projection of sixty percent occupancy is very optimistic. Mr. Lindsey said there
are some issues we need to work through but we have to make a good faith effort because we
have an exciting opportunity that we have not had before. We have all discussed the importance
of the private and public sector working together and here is a perfect opportunity to make that
happen. It is going to be incumbent on the Commission to make it happen.

         Bill Barnes said we were going to have to build the golf course at Village Creek sooner
or later. The numbers we were working with to build the 18-hole golf course are now seven
years old. We have all accepted that it probably would have cost us $5 million with no realistic
expectation of having any return on our money for a long time. What we have now is a proposal
for a first-class resort run by people who have years of history doing it and they have asked us
for $2 million more then what we would have paid, anyway. Mr. Barnes said he is interested in a
small performance bond to cover operation of the golf course. From an investor’s stand point, a
performance bond is a zero return expense. Mr. Barnes asked if Wellington would accept 20 to
25% of gross instead of 50% of net from the golf course until we recoup our $7 million. Mr.
Barnes said he has never liked net fees because net can mean different things. If we had a
percent of the gross plus the lease fee for the lodge operation that would give us approximately
$320,000 against the payment on the loan. That may not make the entire payment but it will go a
lot farther to making a payment on our investment then we would were we to build a $5 million
course and operate it ourselves. Mr. Barnes said the Commission should ask Mr. Butts to see if
he could work out a percentage of gross on golf course and performance bond for a half million
dollars for operation. And, drop the performance bond requirement after two or three years of
proven operation and Wellington has shown they are an aggressive, first-class operation.

        Wade Williams said he would rather find ways to limit what the bond would cover. If we
are just concerned about what it would take to operate the golf course, should Wellington
default, all we need to do is take a look at how long would it take us to get staff there to operate.
Mr. Barnes said we could say we would need 90 days reaction time and cover expenses for that
period of time. Mr. Williams said that is a good way to come up with a figure – have money
placed in an account for that amount and not worry about a bond. Mr. Butts said the problem is
we don’t have appropriation for full-time positions. We would almost have to hire a contractor
to make it work. Mr. Butts said he did not think that six months would be enough by the time a
foreclosure were to take place, leasehold interest sold, etc.

        Mr. Gaston said no matter what, this is the best deal and we should ask Wellington for
projection of the profits on the golf course. The bond requirement should be ongoing. Mr.
Gaston said it is easy to show a profit on a new operation. It is during years five to ten is when
you find out about the business. Mr. Gaston said if he were to take over the lodge and it was a
marginal operation – during years five to seven it will need new carpet and furnishings. If it
were a marginal operation, Mr. Gaston said he would not put in new carpet but leave in year
seven.
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 10


        Richard Davies said he is concerned if they suddenly quit maintaining the property,
leave, and we end up with a run-down facility. Where are we covered in the lease that says
Wellington has to put a certain amount back into the operation? Mr. Butts said the 4% reserve
fund is for that purpose. Jim Shamburger said it would not be “first-class” at 4%. Mr. Butts said
maybe we should increase the percentage.

        Wade Williams asked if there was a way to tie-in that percentage to the agreement to
maintain the three diamond rating and the golf course to the standards that set. Could it be that
every year we evaluate it? And, the reserve is increased until they bring it back up to the rating
is should be. Jim Gaston said you never detect carpet slowly wearing out. We have to have a
high enough percentage because the life of the carpet is going to be based on use. If they have
60% occupancy it will wear out faster. If the occupancy rate is 20% it may never wear out.
Danny Ford said we need to work out something based on gross profit and have it tied into a
percent – 4% for the first three years and graduate it on to five, six or seven percent.

        Bill Barnes said there is common ground that we can reach with Wellington that will
work for everybody. They need to be given credit for proven performance at some point. It does
need to be based on formula based on gross profit. We need to be careful not to unfairly burden
them on the front end but protect ourselves. Possibly we could take the standard operational
gross – 1 to 2 % which is on everything, including the golf course – a 4% reserve on total gross
that would carry forward year to year. Maybe we could request 25% of gross on the golf course,
instead of net and ask for 5% until the maintenance and repair fund reaches $1 million. And, as
long as it is operated to our standards, it would reduce back down to 4%. That would give them
credit for quality of operation and maintenance but give us a comfort level, too. Mr. Barnes said
we need to work in that direction. Perhaps Chairman Lindsey could set up a small committee to
work with Mr. Butts in negotiating this with them. Richard Davies said there are three issues,
performance and protection, and the other is how much we are paid and how the financing would
work.

              Chairman Lindsey appointed Jim Shamburger, Jim Gaston and Ness
       Sechrest to serve on a committee to assist Greg Butts in negotiating the
       contract with Wellington International.

         Jim Shamburger said he thought Andy Dye’s initial proposal for the golf course was for
18 holes. The additional 9 holes came from the Wellington side to support the lodge. Mr.
Shamburger said maybe we could start out with 18 holes and after the occupancy increases we
could build the other 9 holes. Mr. Shamburger said that would make more sense. Prove the
additional nine holes are needed and we will build them. Mr. Barnes said if we are going to do
this, let’s do it well and with the highest visibility and marketability.
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 11


Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park – Proposed Acquisition of Black Property

        Greg Butts said that Mr. and Mrs. Russell Black had requested approval to present their
position on the acquisition of their property. During the August 21-22, 2003 meeting the
Commission approved the acquisition of the Black Property, Tract 11 (Pt NW ¼ Sec 8, T 15 N,
R 31 W Washington County, Arkansas) 70 acres more or less, at the Prairie Grove Battlefield
State Park for a total of $815,160, and grant a five-year tenancy to Russell and Brenda Black.

       Russell Black said he had lived in the Prairie Grove area for 50 years and purchased the
70-acre farm 30 years ago. During the years the Blacks have lived on the farm, they have
remodeled the house, built green houses for their business and grazed cattle. Mr. Black said both
he and his wife have historic ties to the area and feel they have demonstrated stewardship to the
park.

       Brenda Black discussed the history of negotiations for the acquisition of their property
and the differences in appraisals – the Department’s appraisal indicates the property’s highest
and best use is for agricultural land, the Black’s appraisal was based on improvements,
comparable sales and the premise that the highest and best use for the property is for residential
development. Mrs. Black said their offer to sell is for $865,000 plus a contribution receipt in the
amount of $110,000, and a life estate for a total value of $975,000.

         Mr. Black said he and Mrs. Black realize that the highest and best use of their farm is for
the property to be a part of the park. However, they want to remain on eight acres to live out
their lives. Mr. Black said they feel their offer is reasonable, fair and right and all parties would
benefit.

         Richard Davies said a life estate has value. Would the Blacks be able to support to the
IRS the contribution receipt, cash for acquisition and value of the life estate? The IRS will
attribute some value to the IRS. Mrs. Black said the $110,000 contribution receipt would be for
the life estate.

        Greg Butts reviewed the Department’s last offer to acquire the property which took into
consideration the price per acre paid for the most recent properties acquired by the Department
for the park, an amended appraisal, and one new comparable sale using the 6% annual inflation
rate received from the Washington County Assessor’s office for rural property. Mr. Butts
discussed the $75,000 value which the Blacks had placed on the walnut trees. Jim Gaston said
the only market value on a walnut tree is when it is matured.

Billy Lindsey said on August 14, 2003 an offer was made for $810,000 with a life estate,
pending Commission approval. After the Commission meeting, the offer that was made was
$815,160 with a five-year tenancy and no life estate. Mr. Lindsey said, in his opinion, he does
not see a problem with $810,000 with life estate plus the donation value because the Blacks have
been good neighbors to the park. We are $55,000 and a life estate apart. Richard Davies
clarified that the life estate is only for the 8.5 acres.
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 12

        Greg Butts said the best situation is not to offer a life estate. The main purpose of
acquiring the property is to preserve the historic view and the greenhouse is visible. Mr. Butts
asked Mr. Black if he intended to operate his business with the green house. Mr. Black said yes
because it is part of the business. However, if they need to, they would remove the green house
but it has a value to them. Wade Williams asked what the concern was with regard to the life
estate. Mr. Butts said, looking at the park’s master plan, the area of the park where the Black’s
property is situated would have public use and access. The plan is to recreate the land’s 1860s
appearance, along with the development of trails and interpretive stops. A life estate to the
Blacks would be for 26 to 29 years, based on actuarial tables. Mr. Williams asked if the life
estate that we would grant be a limited life estate. Mr. Butts said the Department has historically
granted life estates that have a provision that does not allow rebuilding a house that is destroyed
by fire or natural acts of God.

        Jim Gaston said Mr. Black has committed to modifying the greenhouse in some way.
Mr. Gaston asked what would be Mr. Butts’ best proposal. Mr. Butts said the Black’s appraisal
exceeds 20% above the Department’s appraisal and historic inflation rates noted by the
Washington County Assessor. Mr. Gaston said, in his view, if the Black’s property is valuable to
the park, if we negotiate the acquisition five years from now, we would spend more money.

        Bill Barnes asked Mr. Black what the value of the green house would be if the
Commission required that it be removed. Mr. Black said if it were removed, they would have to
build the structure at some other location. The replacement cost for the 6,500 sq. ft. structure
would be approximately $10 per sq. ft., and they would accept the difference between that
amount and the value in the appraisal. Mr. Barnes asked, if the Commission were to accept the
Black’s offer of $865,000 plus a life estate on the 8 ½ acres, would they agree to remove the
green house. Richard Davies said the average cost, according to the Black’s appraisal, is
$46,949 for the green house. The difference to build it at another location would be
approximately $12,000. Mr. Barnes asked if the Commission offered $880,000 plus a life estate,
which would allow $15,000 difference for the green house, would the Blacks accept it. Mr.
Black said they would.

               Bill Barnes moved to approve an offer of $880,000 for 70 acres more
       or less, a contribution receipt for $110,000 plus a life estate on 8.11 acres,
       more or less, to Mr. and Mrs. Russell Black for their property at Prairie
       Grove Battlefield State Park (Tract 11 pt NW ¼ Sec 8, T 15 N, R 31 W
       Washington County, Arkansas) and the life estate be the standard life estate
       documentation as used throughout the park system which the Blacks have
       reviewed and is acceptable to them, and the removal of the greenhouse from
       the property by November 1, 2004. Ness Sechrest seconded the motion.

       Wade Williams asked for an explanation on the limitations of the life estate. It is
understood that if the house is destroyed it cannot be rebuilt. Greg Butts said the Blacks would
be responsible for maintaining the property. Mr. Williams asked what would happen if the
Blacks moved into nursing facility and no longer maintained the property as a primary residence.
Stan Graves said the life estate agreement includes: a time frame of 90-days when the property
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October 16-17, 2003
Page 13

is unoccupied when it would revert back to the Department, occupancy is limited to Mr. and
Mrs. Black, they are responsible for insurance, there are limitations on what could be erected,
and any changes to the property must be pre-approved by the Department. Mrs. Black said the
$110,000 they would be paying for the life estate would be an insurable interest and they could
insure the house for that amount for roof replacement, etc., if it were damaged by a storm.
Mr. Williams said the agreement also states that the 8.11 acres could only be used for non-
commercial residential purposes.

               A vote on the motion was taken and the motion carried.

Public Hearing & Final Approval on New Policy Directives

        Greg Butts reviewed the approval process and revisions made, based on comments by the
Commission, for the two park directives – revisions to Park Directive 3070 that regulates the
possession and use of firearms, explosives and fireworks in parks, and the new directive that
establishes criteria, procedures and fees for residential, utility and highway department’s access
through park lands. A thirty-day public comment period resulted in no comments on either park
directive.

        Chairman Lindsey asked if there were any public comments on either of the proposed
park directives. There were none.

              Danny Ford moved to approve the revised Park Directive 3070
       Firearms, Explosives, and Fireworks, and the new Park Directive Use Permit
       Policy. Jane Christenson seconded and the motion carried.

       Greg Butts said the final step in the approval process will be when the Subcommittee on
Administrative Rules and Regulations reviews the park directives during their November 6th
meeting.

Pinnacle Mountain State Park

a) Long Range Development Plan

        Stan Graves gave a history of the park. Most of the land was purchased in the mid-
1970s. The Visitor Center was open to the public in the fall of 1977. Many park visitors are not
aware of the park facilities beyond the day-use area at the South base of Pinnacle Mountain.
This is the area where most visitors gather for picnics, hiking the mountain, etc. The Visitor
Center is located three miles from the existing day-use area. Additional park features are a boat
launch on the Big Maumelle River, overlooks for viewing the Arkansas River and Big Maumelle
River, the Arkansas Arboretum and 40 miles of trails that are located within the property. Due to
the popularity of the park, guest parking in the day-use area is extremely limited which impacts
pavilion use and the annual fall Rendezvous special event.
A second day-use area is proposed that would include a canoe launch site, additional pavilions
with restroom facilities, an Environmental Education/Visitor Center, roads to the new facilities
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 14

and relocation of the maintenance area. An overnight lodging facility may be added in the
future, subject to public/private funding and partnerships. This component would be subject to a
feasibility study and approval by the Commission.

        Wade Williams said he understands the idea of having the Visitor Center centrally
located; however, his philosophy has always been that parks welcome guests when they first
arrive. We are talking about having to use a lot of signage to direct guests past what they already
believe is the park and into the interior. Mr. Williams said he sees a potential problem with
getting visitors to the Visitor Center if it is in the middle of the park. Mr. Graves said the first
point is the ideal situation. Unfortunately, there is not an area available at the entrance to the
park. Staff has explored all of the park’s acreage looking for a site that could accommodate the
Visitor Center and necessary parking space. With the new facilities that are proposed, visitors
will be directed to other areas at the interior of the park. The proposed conversion of the existing
Visitor Center into a business conference center will also bring more visitors to the interior of the
park.

       Bill Barnes asked if when the new larger day-use area and the new Visitor Center are
completed, would the need for the proposed Stuckey property acquisition be as important. Mr.
Graves said, no. However, there are 119 parking spaces at the current day-use area that are not
enough for the activities that go on there – access to the mountain trail, pavilion use, picnic and
playground and canoe rentals. Additional parking is needed most weekends.

         Mike Mills asked if there had been any consideration in the current day-use area of
removing the pavilion and re-allocating more parking for the trail heads. Mr. Graves said that
was an excellent point and had addressed it because of the need for approval on the additional
facilities. Mr. Mills said moving the focal point would help the congestion problem in that area.
Mr. Graves said that would help disperse the use. Mr. Williams asked if the current day-use area
was changed, as Mr. Mills suggested, and it was solely for a trail head, would there still be the
need for the Stuckey property. Tony Perrin said the reason guests come to the park is the
mountain. If we had 1,000 parking spaces we still couldn’t accommodate everybody. Anything
we can do to alleviate congestion will help and acquisition of the Stuckey property will help.

              Wade Williams moved to approve the Long Range Development Plan
       for Pinnacle Mountain State Park as presented. Loretta House seconded and
       the motion carried.

          Jim Gaston said he has noticed that in the past eighteen months there seems to have been
a little reservation about acquiring land for the park system in lieu of using the money on
existing facilities instead. Mr. Gaston said he cannot fault that but it does concern him. He is
more concerned about not acquiring land for future Arkansans. Whatever we acquire today is for
the “forever business” that we’re in.
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October 16-17, 2003
Page 15

b) Proposed Property Acquisition – Stuckey Property

        Stan Graves said approval was given at the August meeting to go up to 20% of appraised
value for the acquisition of Tract A of the Stuckey property. The Stuckey’s presented an
amended appraisal and agreed to (a) 20% above the appraisal for a purchase price of $319,890 of
Tract A and (b) to the appraised price on Tract B for $583,790. Greg Butts said we began
negotiations for this property several years ago when John Stuckey had offered to sell the
property for $1.3 million. The acquisition was approved by the Commission from an ANCRC
grant and the purchase price is within the available grant funds. Population in the central area is
continuing to grow and there will be more demands for public use on the park. The time is right
and we need to take advantage of this opportunity.

              Debbie Haak moved to approve acquisition of the Stuckey property
       (Pt. NE ¼ SE ¼ Sec 4, T 2 N, R 14, Pulaski County, Arkansas) Tract A (28.67
       acres) at 20% above appraisal for $319,890, and Tract B (89.38 acres) for
       $263,900 for a total of $583,790. Jane Christenson seconded and the motion
       carried.

        A discussion followed concerning the adjacent Bauer property and possible future
acquisition. Mr. Graves said that a portion of the property would make an ideal entry point into
the park.

DeGray Lake Resort State Park – Report on Administration Building Fire

        Mac Balkman said that on September 29, 2003 a fire occurred at the park administration
building. It appears that there is a 60% loss, primarily the roof, ceilings, floors and walls,
however the building is salvageable and there were no injuries. Chris Peek said the fire was
thoroughly investigated by insurance companies and law enforcement authorities as to the cause
of the fire. It has been determined that the fire was not the result of arson but an electrical
problem of some type. An electrical contractor had been working on the building and marina. It
was determined that the fire was the result of a sudden power surge that overloaded office
electrical equipment. Insurance will cover the loss minus the $25,000 deductible. The insurance
investigators have a strong feel that the fire was caused by something the electrical contractor
had done, and they will pursue subrogation. Park staff have set up a temporary office in a
vacant trailer until the building can be repaired.

Park of the Year Awards

       Greg Butts thanked Billy Lindsey for attending the Superintendent and Museum
Directors meeting during which the Park of the Year awards were announced. Mr. Butts
recognized Lee Howard, Superintendent of Millwood State Park that had been awarded the
Region IV Park of the Year. The Special Event of the Year award went to the Louisiana
Purchase State Park Bicentennial Celebration. Mr. Butts recognized Marcel Hanzlik and Sandy
Burch for their work on the event. Commissioners were provided the following:
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 16


                                ARKANSAS STATE PARKS
                         2002-2003 PARK OF THE YEAR AWARDS

Volunteer Program of the Year                                White Oak Lake
Outstanding Park Maintenance                                 Village Creek
Outstanding Hospitality                                      Ozark Folk Center
                                                             Queen Wilhelmina
Outstanding Interpretive Program                             Old Davidsonville
Outstanding Special Event                                    Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial
                                                             Celebration
Outstanding Resource Management                              Cossatot River – Natural Area
Park of the Year, Region I                                   Mt. Magazine
Park of the Year, Region II                                  Woolly Hollow
Park of the Year, Region III                                 Cane Creek
Park of the Year, Region IV                                  Millwood
Museum of the Year                                           Plantation Agriculture Museum
Overall Winner                                               Cane Creek

CIP Report

        Stan Graves said during the period July, August and September of 2004, there are
$62,102,714 projects underway. During the quarter $3,950,560 in projects were closed. Richard
Davies asked how many architects and engineers are working on the projects currently
underway. Mr. Graves said 36. Mr. Gaston asked about the bidding process on the Bull Shoals-
White River State Park Visitor Information Center. Mr. Graves said it should go to bid in
January or February of 2004. Mr. Gaston asked what kind of a news release could be generated
about the project and requesting donations of memorabilia. Greg Butts said there will be an
official ground breaking for the Visitor Information Center. Mr. Gaston asked if it would be
better to wait on making the request until that time. Mr. Butts said items for display will be
directed by the exhibit plan. Taylor Studios has been prepared a list of items that will be needed.
Mr. Gaston said he has a lot of the items that are on the list. There may be other items that
people have that we are not aware of that could be donated and would be of more value. Richard
Davies said the list of things we know we need is very important but we should leave it open to
other items on White River history.

Miscellaneous

        Jim Gaston complimented the staff of Old Washington on the great job they do at the
park, and the great hospitality they show to all visitors.

       Greg Butts passed around copies of At Home magazine that included an article with
photographs of Old Washington Historic State Park.
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 17

        Tony Perrin, Region II Supervisor, said that Jim Griffin, Superintendent at Bull Shoals-
White River State Park, is incurring medical expenses at the rate of $11,000 per day for Jim’s
stay in the intensive care unit at the hospital. A silent auction is being planned for early
December to raise money to help the family with those expenses. Mr. Perrin asked anyone who
would like to contribute an item or service to the auction to please contact Gloria Robins with the
information. Greg Butts said that Jim Griffin has made the decision to retire.

              Jim Gaston moved to approve a Certificate of Appreciation for Jim
       Griffin recognizing his years of outstanding and dedicated service to
       Arkansas State Parks. Polly Wood Crews seconded and the motion carried.

TOURISM DIVISION

Destination: Arkansas Update

         Joe David Rice updated the Commission on Destination: Arkansas. Seventeen locations
were visited in six days for a publicity blitz to remind people about the Clinton Presidential
Library and Heifer International and that additional tourists will be coming to visit Arkansas
when they open. Mr. Rice thanked Commissioners for their participation and noted that there had
been a good turnout. Richard Davies stated that the releases were very good and he believed
most people understood that it just was not about Little Rock. Ms. Mullikin stated that the story
made the front page of all the locations that were visited. She showed film clips of the tour and
listed the media coverage that had been obtained. Shelby Woods stated that the media tour went
well and that the idea behind it was to communicate the magnitude and scope of what’s about to
happen to the people of Arkansas. Although Little Rock will be the gateway, all of Arkansas will
benefit. Joe David Rice thanked Karen, Shelby and the staff of CJRW for their work in pulling
the tour off.

Spring Conversion Study

        Mr. McLemore distributed copies of the 2003 Spring Mail-Out Conversion Study to
Commissioners. Out of the 213,956 requests made for travel information associated with the
Spring Advertising campaign, a survey of 10,000 individuals was conducted to determine how
many of them visited Arkansas. From the responses, 43% indicated that they had indeed visited
Arkansas and 66% plan to visit within the next 12 months. The average duration of the trip was
5.3 nights with the bulk, 3.2 nights, being spent in Arkansas. The average expenditure per trip
was $672.00 with an estimated $406.00 spent in Arkansas. The average length of time to receive
an Arkansas Vacation Planning kit was 16.1 days, the same amount as in 2002, but the average
number of days spent planning the trip was 6.7 compared to the 5.5 days spent in 2002. Twenty-
two percent responded that they had visited the website, up 3.4% over the previous year. For
those unable to travel, time was cited most often as the reason for not coming. Average responses
for the 2002 and 2003 Conversion Studies were attached to the report as well as the 2003 Spring
Conversion Study by Media, the Ratio of Travel Expenditures Generated to the Cost of 2003
Spring Advertising Campaign, and the Conversion Rate of Publications by Year Surveyed. Mr.
McLemore also discussed questions included on the survey.
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 18

Online Tourism Conversion Study

         Charles McLemore shared some statistics with Commissioners from the 2003 Edition of
the Domestic Travel Market Report. Due to the Internet, calls and visits to travel agents and
travel companies have decreased sharply. In fact, 42% of travelers report doing most of, or their
entire trip planning online, an increase of 13% over the previous year. The Internet is also being
used to make reservations; 70% of travelers report doing at least half of their travel booking
online, an increase of 14% over the previous year. He also cited the TIA 2002 Domestic Travel
Market Report that broke down the statistics of media used to plan a trip or vacation. The
Internet was used by 40% of travelers, Motor Club Magazine – 26%, Newspaper Travel section
– 25%, Televised Travel Show – 20%, General Interest Magazine – 17% and so on. Mr.
McLemore stated that the statistics show it is a good idea to keep abreast of our Internet users.
Loretta House asked for copies of the statistical data to be given to Commissioners.

        Charles McLemore presented the Arkansas State Parks Internet Survey Spring/Summer
2003. The Division website, ArkansasStateParks.com, received 511,020 visitors from March
through August 2003 and 10,641,797 hits during this time. A total of 7,164 e-mail addresses
from people requesting information were captured. Those visitors to the site were e-mailed the
survey instrument as well as a letter from Greg Butts, Parks Director. The adjusted population
was 6,049 resulting from 1,115 undeliverable questionnaires. The response rate was 16.6% based
on a return of 1,007 completed surveys. Information was detailed in a report distributed to
Commissioners.

        Seven out of ten visitors learned of the website from a link on another website or from a
search engine. Ninety-nine percent of respondents found the website easy to navigate and almost
all, 94% (Spring) and 95% (Summer) agreed or strongly agreed that the site answered all
questions. Most visitors agreed that the photos and photo tours were helpful in making their
decision to visit a State Park as well as the Park Events and Activities section provided the
information needed. Four out of five visitors visited the site to plan a vacation and those that did
visit and ordered additional information, received it in about 8.5 days for both Spring and
Summer. Over half visited a State Park after visiting the website. More than 2/3 report that they
used a campsite, cabin or lodge room during their average stay of 3.4 (Spring) and 3.0 (Summer)
nights and spent an average of $259 (Spring) and $254 (Summer). Over 80% (Spring) and 77%
(Summer) indicated that the travel party consisted of family members traveling together. The
median age of respondents was 37.1 (Spring) and 40.6 (Summer) years with an average income
of $61,326 (Spring) and $62,121 (Summer). Mr. McLemore read some of the comments
included with the surveys.

        Mr. McLemore also discussed the 2003 Spring Internet Conversion Study for
Arkansas.com. The website received a record 1,895,184 visits and 20,418,669 hits during
January through August 2003. Internet inquiries were the largest increase of requests for
information. The entire population of over 70,000 e-mail addresses were captured and used for
the survey. The instrument and a letter from Joe David Rice were e-mailed to 72,516 addresses,
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 19

of which 6,313 were returned due to invalid addresses. The adjusted available population was
66,203 and 10,559 were completed for a 15.9% response rate. Average family income of
respondents was $50,438.43.

        Most respondents (75.4%) located Arkansas.com via a search engine (53.4%) or website
link (22.0%). Fifty-three percent printed one or more pages from the website, down slightly
from last year. A little over 60% reported visiting the website during the last 12 months, up
slightly from 2002. The average trip duration was 4.1 nights, the majority of which was spent in
Arkansas (3.6 nights) with an average trip expenditure of $371.19, most of which (354.03) was
spent in the state. More than ¾ of respondents noted that they visited websites of other states.
Those requesting additional Arkansas information received it in 5.1 days, well within the average
trip planning time of 4.7 weeks. Almost 90% reported planning to visit Arkansas in the next 12
months. Information on competing states was also included within the Conversion Study.

Section Reports

Research & Information Services

       The section processed 32,949 requests for information during September 2003, an
increase of 11.3% over the previous year. Tourist Information Center visitation totaled 67,257,
down 7.6% from last year. Visits to the five agency web sites in September totaled 446,104.
Arkansas.com received a record-breaking 333,662 visits, far surpassing all previous months.

        Charles McLemore continued to work with Highway Department representatives on the
Welcome Center development. He also attended the Travel & Tourism Research Association
South Central States Chapter Annual Conference in Baton Rouge September 24-26, 2003. He
was elected Chapter Treasurer for 2004-2005. Eddie Fugatt has compiled the first 2 Fall foliage
reports. He also made arrangements for the booth at the Arkansas State Fair. Sam Walters has
completed the Spring Conversion studies.

Group Travel

        Section members responded to 146 inquiries in September. Jane Ellen Frazier will
present the Tap Into Arkansas project during the NTA Annual Convention in November in
Charlotte, North Carolina. Ms. Frazier attended the Student & Youth Travel Association of
North America show, held in Montreal, Quebec and garnered 65 leads for the Department. She
also attended the Northern Ohio Group Leaders Marketplace in Cleveland, Ohio.

Tourism Development

       All regional associations met the monthly paperwork deadline. The regional postcards,
which are included in the Vacation Planning Kits, have been sent to Max Gilbert, the
Department’s Commercial Artist, for updating. Both Donna Perrin and Kristine Puckett attended
the Delta Byways Annual Banquet and Awards ceremony. Forty nominations have been received
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 20

for the Henry Awards, which are due by October 31st. The 2004 Spring/Summer Calendar of
Events has been completed, proofed, and sent to the Commercial Artist. The publication will
have more than 800 submissions as well as a new “category index.”

        Three applications were received during the second grant cycle of FY 2003/2004 for the
Arkansas Tourism Attraction Feasibility Study Matching Grant program. Two grant applications
were eligible for the funds. An $11,316 grant was awarded for a $30,000 study of a tourism
attraction at the I-40/Ark 186 interchange. The second grant for $3,772 for a $10,000 study will
be conducted for the Centennial Baptist Church, National Historic Landmark.

Communications

       Section members posted the November issue of Arkansastravel.com, worked with various
businesses on posting information to the “Hot Deals & Packages” section of the website, and met
with Aristotle about the website redesign. Staff members also filed releases, wrote portions of
and compiled the October and November issues of Travelin’ Arkansas, and submitted items for
e-newsletters. A meeting was also held between the travel writers to discuss new writing
assignments for the website redesign as well as the new special interest e-newsletters.

Marketing/Communications

2004 Television and Print Campaign Creative Revisions

        Ms. Mullikin reminded Commissioners that the campaign, Arkansas: The Great
Unknown had been approved last month. Ms. Mullikin stated that some changes had been made
in response to some comments that had been made. She distributed the photos that were changed
for the print advertisements and showed television clips also. Fonts were made slightly larger on
the print ads and a golf shot as well as a roller coaster shot were placed in the television
commercials.

The Great Arkansas FestivalFest Update
        Rebecca Scaife updated Commissioners on the Great Arkansas FestivalFest. She also
distributed cards that will be used for the promotion. Thirteen festivals are on the card. Travelers
are supposed to get the card stamped at each festival attended. If at least 5 places are stamped,
the traveler can send it in for a chance to win a high definition, big screen television, donated by
Broadway Satellite. Clear Channel, a partner in the program, is providing radio and television
spots as well as having information on its website and linking to Arkansas.com. News releases
are also being sent to each festival as well as radio and televisions across the state.

Fall Online Campaign Results Update/New Creative

        Karen Mullikin presented the click through banner ads for the fall campaign. She stated
that the Internet campaign is currently running. The average industry click through rate is .2%.
Overall, the click through rate for the campaign is .31%, above the spring campaign. The
Coleman site has a rate of 1.23%, Rock and Ice is 1.09%, AOL is .21%, Travelocity is .25%
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 21

Mapquest is .25%, Wheather.com is .97% and Yahoo is .27%. The spring campaign click
throughs totaled 49,350 and the fall campaign is currently at 57,701 with the rest of October and
November left. A final report will be presented at the end of the campaign. Ms. Mullikin stated
that she is encouraged by the progress so far and believes that a lot of new visitors are being
brought to the site. She also showed the new banner ads to Commissioners. She stated that
although the campaign started in August, these ads went up in October.

Fall Video News Release Update

        Libby Doss reported on the fall video news release for television in markets. She stated
that there was a 4-8 week period for fall foliage in Arkansas. Interviews will be conducted and
footage will be shot so that television stations can suggest where to go for fall colors to their
viewers. Stations in Fort Smith and Jonesboro have already agreed to help.

        Ms. Doss updated Commissioners on the Travel & Win contest. She stated that over
2,000 people participated. Over 500 people were eligible to win prizes: a pair of binoculars for
visiting 5 places and a nice canvas sports/travel bag for visiting 10 places. The grand prize was
the Aloha pontoon boat, which was presented to a family from Benton.

       She reminded Commissioners of the Resolution that had been approved to be presented
to Dale Nicholson and Channel 7 for their partnership in the “See Arkansas First” campaign. Ms.
Doss stated that the presentation had occurred.

        Ms. Doss also distributed the Trail of Holiday Lights brochures to Commissioners. She
stated that 72 communities were participating, the largest number to date, three of which are new
to the program; England, Morrilton, and Russellville. The guides have already been distributed to
the Tourist Information Centers and are currently being distributed to the Shell Superstops. Ms.
Doss noted that Commissioners would participate in the lighting ceremony in Blytheville at next
month’s Commission meeting. She stated that Aristotle is working on the Holiday Lights portion
of the website, which will include “Cool Yule Deals,” a holiday-themed “Hot Deals &
Packages.” She also informed Commissioners about a possible show that will by produced by
A&E about unique holiday lights in towns with a population of less than 50,000. Loretta House
asked if a Trail of Holiday Lights screensaver would be available on the website. Jonathan Eudy
stated the cost of the screensaver is approximately $2200 and that it hasn’t been done, but
wouldn’t be too difficult. Jim Gaston stated that it would have a short life and that a lot of
businesses have a rule about not having screensavers. He stated that he would want to know how
many people would use it before spending the money. He would also prefer to have a
screensaver that could be used year round. Jonathan Eudy responded that options for wallpaper
and e-mail through postcards could be investigated and that it wouldn’t be expensive. Richard
Davies stated that Jonathan Eudy and Joe David Rice would work on the issue.
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 22

Aristotle Report

         Jonathan Eudy presented information for the websites. In comparison from September
2002 to September 2003, the number of page views to the Arkansas Tourism sites decreased
7.0%, but visits to the sites increased 89.5%. Visits from search engine referrals grew 55.4%
over the same period. The most popular site areas continue to be Attractions, Lodging & Dining
and Outdoors & Sports. Visits to the Calendar of Events grew substantially each consecutive
month, July, August, and September; 15,166, 19,211, and 36,181 respectively. Interest in the e-
newsletters for the following sites also increased: Arkansas, Arkansas Kids, State Parks,
Arkansas Travel, Group Travel, DeGray, Ozark Folk Center, Petit Jean, and Queen Wilhelmina.
During the month of September 2003, 180 packages were listed on the Hot Deals and Packages
section and had been visited 21,384 times. Improvements to the Hot Deals section include the
ability to choose a package based on a certain type of lodging, Cabins/Cottages, Hotel, etc., and
access to the events available in the area during a selected time. Improvements have also been
made to the Fall Foliage page and the Photo Gallery. Revenue from the Book It! Button for the
same period was $31,869.00. There were 209 clicks for 403 room nights at an average rate of
$139.78.

        Marla Norris discussed links to Arkansas.com from other sites, search engine
optimization, pay per click, and banner advertising. Jim Shamburger asked about the current
linking policy. Richard Davies replied that the current policy is that the Department will link
with anyone with a relationship to the Tourism industry and that in order for us to link to them
they have to put Arkansas.com on their front page. A question was also asked about the State
Park linking policy. Greg Butts answered that State Parks has not linked to properties or specific
attractions. Dina Crane mentioned that the State Parks website is linked to the Attractions,
Lodging & Dining page of Arkansas.com. Mr. Davies stated that this may be an issue that might
need to be revisited again. After a short discussion, it was decided the linking policy would be
brought back at the next Commission meeting.

        Ms. Norris explained the online banner ad tracking and talked about the clicks to
Arkansas.com, the sections viewed on the website, e-newsletter sign ups, and Vacation Planning
Kit requests. The most popular online pages were Outdoors & Sports, Fall Color, the Home
page, postcards, etc. The newsletter signups were discussed by source site and by banner in
respect with where the visitors came from. Vacation Planning Kits requests were also discussed
by source sites. E-newsletter recommendations, based on meetings between Tourism, Cranford
Johnson Robinson Woods, and Aristotle staff, were distributed to Commissioners.

        Marla Norris discussed Handouts 2, 3, and 4. Recommendations for the main page
content are derived from meetings between the Tourism, Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods,
and Aristotle staff. Sections are listed in the distribution. Ms. Norris stated that the website
would be open and bright. The second document entailed selections of festivals, by date, for
main page images. The third handout included information on proposed writing assignments for
both Tourism and Aristotle staff. Jim Shamburger suggested linking to the closer lodging
establishments when listing information about festivals and special events. Wade Williams stated
SPRTC Minutes
October 16-17, 2003
Page 23

some concerns about what images will be listed on the main page. Polly Wood Crews stated that
the images need to be more representative of the state. Marla Norris stated that this is the time
for input and stressed that the recommended list from Jay Harrod is just a draft.

             Mike Mills moved to approve the main page design for Arkansas.com.
       Debbie Haak seconded and the motion carried.

Miscellaneous

      Chairman Lindsey appointed Debbie Haak, Jane Christenson, and Danny Ford to a
nominating committee for next year’s Commission Chairman and Vice-Chairman. They will
come back with recommendations at the next meeting.

        Karen Mullikin reminded Commissioners that they had approved doing some test
marketing in Branson, Missouri. The idea is to find out whether or not some travelers to Branson
will swing through Arkansas. The recommended media placements include 3 outdoor billboards
and 60-second spots on the Vacation Channel, which runs in 97% of hotel rooms in Branson.
Two of the billboards are Tri-Vision rotating, which are 3 rotating billboards that turn every 7
seconds. The billboards are 8 month contracts, from November 1, 2003 through June 2004. The
Vacation Channel is on 24 hours per day and will run 8 spots per day, 56 spots per week and will
from November and December as well as March through June 2004. Ms. Mullikin described the
creative for Commissioners. Television commercials were also discussed. Wade Williams
suggested using some of the Trail of Holiday Lights footage during the November/December
portion. Shelby Woods replied that it would be edited and part of it would be included in the
spots. The total budget is approximately $55,000.

              Jim Gaston moved to approve the Branson test campaign. Jane
       Christenson seconded and the motion carried.

       Joe David Rice stated that Jack Hill, who we have worked with in the past, is producing a
film on “Arkansas’ Hemingway.” He asked that $4,000 from the contingency fund be used to
help sponsor the project including billboards, print ads, and a 30-second spot.

              Wade Williams moved to approve a $4,000 expenditure from the
       contingency fund to help sponsor the Jack Hill project, “Arkansas’
       Hemingway.” Jane Christenson seconded and the motion carried.

       The State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission adjourned at approximately
9:15 a.m. on October 17, 2003

				
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