Bureau to grease the wheels for conventions

By Jessica Kalin

A new convention and visitor’s bureau will join DeKalb’s Chamber of Commerce to help bring visitors to DeKalb and its businesses.

“There is a great need for outside visitors to witness all that the DeKalb area has to offer and the Chamber of Commerce and City of DeKalb are responding to this need by creating a new convention and visitor’s bureau,” said Bureau Coordinator Kim Kubiak.

The bureau, which is funded by the city through hotel and motel tax money, is projected to cost $50,000 and will be located inside the Chamber of Commerce offices at 164 E. Lincoln Highway.

The city plans to hire a full-time employee to work at the bureau, but has not begun the hiring process for the new position. An advisory committee is forming to help create a job description. The advisory committee includes several representatives from the city, hotels, restaurants and NIU. Rena Cotsones, executive director of community relations, and Kevin Selover, the marketing manager for the Convocation Center, will represent NIU on the committee.

“Since [the visitor’s bureau] is brand new to this area, we have a lot of legwork to complete before it’s up and running, but we’ve accomplished a lot of it already,” Kubiak said.

The chamber plans to have a toll-free phone number and a Web site for the bureau that can be linked from the Chamber of Commerce site, www.dekalb.org.

The bureau will create a DVD to promote the area to conventioneers and sports tournament organizers, Kubiak said.

The DVD, which is still in production, will feature NIU, DeKalb’s shopping and dining experiences and recreational facilities.

Kubiak said restaurants, hotels and other overnight destinations will be most affected by the new bureau.

An opening date for the bureau has not been set.