WOODSTOCK — Shenandoah County took the next step in establishing a countywide tourism zone program that leaders said should draw business investment to the region.
Last month, the county Tourism Council members reviewed a draft of the application for businesses to benefit from tourism zone incentives. The next step, said Jenna French, the county’s economic development and tourism director, is to establish a committee to review applications once business owners submit them.
Not every business that contributes to tourism would be appropriate for the county, French said, but there needs to be a group of people to determine which businesses should be passed along for approval by the county.
A draft of scoring criteria to help the committee is in the works, and French asked members of the council if they were interested in participating in reviewing the criteria and applications.
“We want to make sure we get it right out of the gates,” French said.
Katie Mercer, Amber Smoot, Bill Schumacher and Jackie Moe volunteered to join the committee to consult with county staff on the scoring criteria and business applications.
French Price, the county’s economic development and tourism coordinator, told council members she would be leaving the county next week to take a job with the Virginia Cooperative Extension to focus on creating more programs like the Farm2Fork affair being held next month.
Price has spearheaded the county’s efforts to grow the Farm2Fork affair from a number of small, local events to one regional event that brings food producers and food consumers together for a tradeshow expo.
The Farm2Fork Affair includes workshops to help producers learn how to build business relationships with buyers as well as market themselves after the show is over.
Earlier this month, the county received a grant to help fund those workshops and create a toolkit for similar programs in the future.
The county has begun looking for Price’s replacement, and French said initial applications would be reviewed at the end of the month.