Bourbonnais supports KCCVB with 5-year contract
BOURBONNAIS — The pressure is now on Bradley to keep the Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau intact, as Bourbonnais approved a five-year contract with the local tourism agency Monday.
Bourbonnais village trustees unanimously approved the contract extension with the KCCVB. The village is now on board with Kankakee, Manteno, Momence and unincorporated Kankakee County to stay with the KCCVB through June 2024.
The KCCVB’s future has been uncertain with Bradley village Trustee Mike Watson publicly questioning whether the village should remain with the tourism agency.
Bradley contributed $408,534 of the $685,885 the KCCVB received last year as part of a 5-percent hotel-motel tax. Watson would like to see Bradley receive benefits that align with that contribution.
Last week, the KCCVB offered to return 20 percent of the hotel-motel tax pool to all six towns that contribute to it.
Watson wasn’t fazed by the offer.
“I’m looking for long-term solutions to what is best for Bradley,” Watson told the Daily Journal. “[KCCVB] are dedicated to getting an agreement, but I don’t like what I’ve seen so far. Based on what I heard, I’m not in support.”
Without Bradley, the KCCVB would lose about 60 percent of its hotel-motel taxes. It also would be in danger of losing a $144,000 state grant that helps fund the organization.
“If Bradley says no to this, the CVB as we know it won’t exist,” said KCCVB Executive Director Staci Wilken, who was at Bourbonnais’ village board meeting. “It would cause a dramatic change. If we lose the state grant, Bradley loses, too. It’s a no-win situation. I am hopeful that Bradley would continue to want to be in the CVB.”
Bourbonnais Mayor Paul Schore also challenged Watson’s opinion after Monday night’s board meeting, which was attended by a couple of Bradley Village officials — Administrator Catherine Wojnarowski and Finance Director Rob Romo.
“I encourage the folks in Bradley not to be shortsighted,” Schore told the Daily Journal. “They need to realize all the events that put the heads in beds at the hotel rooms. Almost all of them take place outside of the Village of Bradley.”
With no hotels and motels in village limits, Bourbonnais does not contribute to the KCCVB’s hotel-motel tax pool. However, it promotes tourism to Kankakee County through Chicago Bears Training Camp and Olivet Nazarene University.
Bourbonnais also plans on adding hotels near the new Interstate 57 interchange at Bourbonnais Parkway, which opened last November.
“We are all in this together, as we are in many instances,” Schore said. “I think making a big issue about pulling back out of [the KCCVB] is going to send us back 30 years, where we used to be when we didn’t get along and nobody worked together. We all need to work together. That’s how things work best for everybody.”
Bradley village trustees will likely vote on whether to continue with the KCCVB during their meeting April 22.