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Woodbury council balks at proposed CVB plans

The city of Woodbury is unlikely to continue discussions on establishing a Convention and Visitors Bureau.

A recent proposal mapped out a plan of action for an initiative to market and promote the city's hotels, retailers, venues and recreation opportunities.

If the City Council opted to move forward, the initiative would impose a 3 percent lodging tax on hotels to cover the more than $600,000 cost of establishing the CVB and administration fees. Woodbury would join more than 100 Minnesota cities to impose a lodging tax.

The council approved a feasibility study on establishing a CVB in 2013 after it was determined more research was needed.

City Administrator Clinton Gridley said the city's current marketing is limited and that a CVB could help keep pace with other communities.

"To the extent that we don't market as other communities do with CVBs, I think there's a competitive disadvantage that can occur," he said at the Aug. 16 City Council workshop. "Over time, as communities are broadcasting themselves, their opportunities, we might find ourselves less competitive and desirable."

The initiative would mainly focus on marketing Woodbury as an athletic destination by encouraging sports clubs to host tournaments at the HealthEast Sports Center.

It would also promote features like the city's parks, golf courses and retail offerings.

But the proposal received a lukewarm greeting from council members during an Aug. 16 workshop.

"We've made it this far, this successfully," said council member Julie Ohs. "Do we need this, or is this just nice to have?"

Council member Andrea date said she struggled with the idea of marketing Woodbury's sports and health care opportunities to draw in visitors.

"Is that really what I want it to look like? Is that how I want the city to be marketed or is that just what we have?" she said. "It's not super inspiring to me. ... To me, Woodbury is a community where people live, it's not where you go on vacation."