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Clay Requesting Proposals For Tourism Assessment

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Clay Requesting Proposals For Tourism Assessment

The Clay County Chamber of Commerce is taking proposals for a Tourism Asset Assessment as well as a three-year strategic plan for the county.

Chamber Executive Director Doug Young said he wants to rebrand Celina as a River Town. He said the aquatic activities at Dale Hollow Lake and Cordell Hull Lake have been underutilized. He said according to data from the Tennessee Department of Tourism, Clay County set a visitor spending record in 2023, making now the perfect time for the next big step.

“Seeing if we can’t get more tourists to come here,” Young said. “We’d like to be able to make Celina a destination so that when they think fishing, when they think skiing, when they think kayaking, they think of Clay County.”

Young said of the six marinas in the county, none are on Cordell Hull Lake. He said he hopes proposals include projects that will allow visitors to make the most of that natural resource. He said he hopes to select a firm soon and have a three-year plan set in the coming months.

“Hopefully, we’ll get a company to come in here and wrap this thing up pretty quickly,” Young said. “There’s no need to drag this out over a six-month period of time. Just come in and let’s put a team together and work with them and let them tell us what we need to do.”

He said when tourists come to town for water attraction, an economic ripple effect benefits local restaurants and stores. He said he hopes to form a plan that expands beyond just the water and highlights local activities like antiquing, dining, and music festivals.

“We have some really good country restaurants in this town and county,” Young said. “Throughout the county. We have some real interesting places to go eat. You can find just about anything you want, and some of it is very unique.”

Young said he wants people to be so impressed with their visit that they return year after year. He said a 53-pound white bass was caught out of Cordell Hull Lake last year. He said a world championship brown trout was reeled in from the obey river, and some six out of the top ten largest smallmouth bass in the state were caught from Dale Hollow Lake.

“This is a real mecca for folks to come here,” Young said. “And they’ve been coming for a long time from Ohio and Indiana and Illinois. All around. And I think I’ve been noticing lately, we’ve been getting more of them coming up from the south and, certainly, more of them coming over from Nashville.”

He said firms that send in proposals should provide examples of past projects, resumes of principles, an overall vision for Clay County, and an estimated cost for services.


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