The Voter: August 2014


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HOPEWELL WORLD HERITAGE DESIGNATION

Ever since the Hyatt Palma study conducted for the revitalization of downtown Chillicothe, the League of Women Voters has supported this important cause. If we are to gain a World Heritage status all of us in both city and county would win. Each year our main fundraiser: Ghost Walk, besides raising money for our important work continues to help our downtown. We have had up to 750 participants. This year is no different.

The committee planning Ghost Walk comprising our President Bart Henshaw our Marketing Chair Sarah Skinner and myself is moving right along. If you want to see some strange experiences I personally faced, go to my face book page and see my photo posted on 7/22. Spooky Stuff is already happening! We have our sites chosen and our main focus this year we call: Layers of History and Mystery.

The Heartland Conservancy group, one of the players responsible for moving us in the direction of a World Heritage designation, will be stationed at the Majestic. They will showcase our county as the most important spiritual and historic area during the same time period as ancient Rome.

The Ohio World Heritage Opportunity...

Earning inscription on the World heritage list is the highest international honor possible for a heritage site. The following historic sites in Ohio have been accepted onto the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List for consideration by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee:

Newark Earthworks in Licking County (Ohio Historical Society) *

Hopewell Cultural National Historical Park in Ross County (National Park Service) *

Fort Ancient Earthworks in Warren County (Ohio Historical Society) *

Serpent Mound in Adams County (Ohio Historical Society)

Dayton Aviation Sites in Montgomery County (National Park Service)

* Part of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks nomination and included in the economic impact findings below.

World Heritage designation brings not only international recognition, but huge increases in international and domestic tourism and job creation.

The Economic Opportunity...

The BaxStarr Consulting Group of Chicago’s study forecasts the expected economic activity and associated tax revenue impacts for Ohio.

Key findings include:

The World Heritage designation, coupled with additional investments, would significantly increase tourism to Ohio by about 200,000 visitors annually. An estimated 10 percent of those visitors would be international. This would result in about $56 million to incremental direct spending, $80 million in total spending increases, growing to about $100 million annually after five years. The initial financial impacts would create $21 million in additional annual wages in Ohio and over $5 million in annual state and local tax revenues.

Case studies have found that tourism can increase anywhere from double to 10-fold (such as at the Cahokia Mounds World Heritage Site in Illinois), generating increased spending in the economy.

Visitation to the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks sites would draw heavily from what are defined as cultural/heritage tourists. A study of this market niche shows that they spend about 50 percent more than the average traveler, largely as a result of longer stays in an area.

This information was provided to the Chamber by Melody Young Executive Director of the Ross Chillicothe Convention & Visitors Bureau. Go to whc.unesco.org to see the website for further information!

Committee Reports

Ghost Walk

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Dawn Zarbakhsh (Chair), Bart Henshaw, Sarah Skinner

WE NEED ALL LEAGUE MEMBERS ON Board; Coordinate a building (gather volunteers, hand out info be boss of one site), storytellers (those with a theatrical flair, tell the history and mystery in your own star fashion), gate keepers (herd visitors and be helpful to ticket buyers), League Founders (represent League at Schlegels and sit), Street players (be a character from history).

E-mail , Facebook, or call either Bart Henshaw, Sarah Skinner, or me!

WE NEED YOU and...I Want you!

So hurry up and get Ghostly!