A&P denies funding for Chamber event, approves TOC request

Sarah Perry
Staff Writer

During a recent meeting of the Bryant Advertising and Promotion Commission, commissioners approved a funding request for a one of the state’s largest baseball tournaments, but denied a funding request for a Greater Bryant Chamber of Commerce event.

The commission received three funding requests for Wally Hall’s Tournament of Champions, Taste of Bryant and Bryant Fall Fest.

Shane Pigue, of Benton, organizer of the tournament, told the commission more than 120 teams from six states are scheduled to participate.

The Memorial Day weekend tournament will included games in both Benton and Bryant.

“We do things in this tournament that no other teams can do as far as prizes,” Pigue said.

This year, for the first time, all Friday night games will be played in Bryant.

He mentioned that because of the size of fields in Benton, the tournament can only host 11- and 12-year-old games in Bryant.

For the event, Pigue requested $3,750 from the Bryant commission and will request $3,750 from the Benton commission.

This funding will be used for a marketing video that can be used to promote the tournament year after year, Pigue said.

While speaking with the commission, he mentioned this year’s event program.

“There all Benton-based (businesses featured) because that’s the people I know. We don’t really approach Bryant that much,” Pigue said.

He offered to allow advertisement for the commission in the program.

The commission approved the funding request contingent on the commission receiving a formal funding request form.

The commission voted to deny the Chamber’s funding request for Taste of Bryant and tabled a discussion about funding for Bryant Fall Fest.

Chamber President and CEO Jason Brown informed the commission that the Chamber would like to revamp elements of both Taste of Bryant and Fall Fest.

For Taste of Bryant, scheduled to take place Aug. 6, the Chamber plans to advertise the event outside of the city.

“We have several new restaurants. We have great restaurants here and people don’t know who they are or what they do,” Brown said.

To participate in the Taste of Bryant event, businesses do not have to be members of the Chamber, but they are required to provide food for 250 people.

Commissioner Fran Miceli mentioned the number of Benton restaurants that participated last year in Taste of Bryant.

“Last year, there were a lot of Benton restaurants,” Miceli said.

The issue failed after Commissioner Jared Voth made a motion in favor of the request, but failed to receive a second.

Organizers plan to make the kids’ area during Fall Fest into a carnival and the Chamber is planning to partner with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bryant to host a Bingo event Friday night before the festival. About 12,000 people attend Fall Fest each year.

“I don’t know about the hotel side, but the restaurant side, for me, this is a fail because everyone is eating there,” Miceli said.

Scott commended the Chamber’s decision to improve the kids zone area.

After voting to table the discussion of Fall Fest, Voth asked Brown to bring more information about the Taste of Bryant request so they could discuss it again.

The following items were also discussed:

•A&P tax collection. Code Enforcement Director Greg Huggs informed the commission that one business has refused to remit tax collections. The commission authorized Huggs’ normal protocol to take away the restaurants’ business license if the tax is not collected.

•Approved a suggestion to place a $250 advertisement in the Bryant High School football program. “People know we have an A&P Commission collecting funds, but they don’t really see it front and center at any time,” said Commissioner Scott Hill.

•Went into executive session to discuss an RFQ request involving legal counsel, according to Commissioner Lorne Gladden who was leading the meeting. After returning to the regular session, the commission voted to pursue the next steps to negotiate an attorney to serve as legal counsel for the commission.

Chairman Bob Joiner and Alderman Carlton Billingsley were not present for the meeting.

All meetings of the commission are open to attendance is encouraged.