Pine Bluff Convention Center interim executive director Sheri Storie gave an update Tuesday on the building's usage for the period of Jan. 1, 2017, to June 30, 2017. Storie provided a report showing year-to-date expenses came to $574,542. That is $5,079 more than the year-to-date budget of $569,463.
Storie discussed some organizations that used to rent space at the convention center during the first six months of the year such as the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Chancellor's Ball, the Simmons Bank for a shareholders meeting and a church group.
Storie said that two people retired from the Convention and Visitors Bureau, who recruited people to hold events at the convention center. Storie said she is the only person doing marketing at this time and will remain so until those two positions are filled. Commissioners Ethel Cogshell, Gary Wilson, Wil Jenkins, Monique Benford, La'Tasha Woods and Lisa Kosmitis approved Storie's report.
Cogshell asked Storie to market the convention center to which Storie responded she is absolutely doing so. Storie said the convention center is doing well in terms of its expenditures for the year to date. In related news, Storie provided a written report stating the convention center held more events and attracted 20.8 percent more visitors during the first six months of 2017 as compared to the first six months of 2016.
The filming of the Lifetime series “Bring It!,” the 8-4A basketball tournament and an increase in school events have made the biggest impact, Storie said in her written report. Storie said the building is being repaired, maintained and upgraded between events.
Storie assumed the position of interim director after then-director Bob Purvis retired earlier this year. The commissioners did not discuss a search for a new director of the Pine Bluff Convention Center. In other news, commissioners voted to appoint Woods and Kosmitis to the finance committee.