New tourism office in Cedar Rapids hoping to reassure members, supporters

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG)- The new Cedar Rapids Tourism office that replaced the failed Go Cedar Rapids group is reaching out to businesses and civic groups asking for continued support. And that includes telling those groups what’s coming next with convention and tourism promotion.

The new logo of the Cedar Rapids Tourism office. The office sent a letter to financial supporters of Go Cedar Rapids outlining what's coming soon.

Go Cedar Rapids lost $2.3-million dollars putting on a three-day Newbo evolve event last August. The nonprofit folded in early October after failing to find a way out of the massive debt including $800,000 owed to vendors.

But a letter than went out to individuals and groups that supported Go Cedar Rapids financially in the past provided an update for what will happened next.

And, in one case, it also provided some assurance money spent with Go Cedar Rapids for dues to belong to the organization won’t go to waste.

Last October, one organization treasurer complained to TV9 that her group has prepaid dues for the coming year just before Go Cedar Rapids folder.

The amount was $475 for each group’s membership and she feared that money was wasted.

Mike Silva executive director of VenuWorks, the organization hired by the city to continue tourism promotion, promised that money won’t go to waste.

“We are honoring any membership that was paid or was necessary for them to go forward. And the new tourism office is launching our own website in another week or so,” Silva said.

Silva says the letter also told members that the new tourism group is planning a visitor’s information center somewhere in the downtown area.

And plans are underway to produce the annual visitor’s guide magazine with staffers selling ads for the publication that usually comes out in late February or early March.

The city of Cedar Rapids hired VenuWorks to oversee convention and tourism operations at least until October of next year. The plan then is to have a new nonprofit group in place.