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Whitmire to join citys tourism efforts
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United Way official Tracy Whitmire soon will join Gainesville government as the city’s new convention and facilities sales manager, City Manager Kip Padgett said Thursday.

Whitmire, currently the United Way’s Vice President of Resource Development, is the first to land one of Gainesville’s two new jobs created after the city severed financial ties with the Lake Lanier Convention & Visitors Bureau and Main Street Gainesville.

Gainesville City Council voted last year to pull funding from the two organizations and instead market its own facilities and create its own Main Street program.

The city is still taking applications for a manager of its soon-to-start Main Street program. And in the week that the city advertised the convention and facilities sales manager position, nearly 100 people applied, Padgett said.

Of those, Whitmire was chosen because of her experience with fundraising and her knowledge of the community, Padgett said. “She really seems to be a cheerleader for Gainesville, which is what we need in that position,” Padgett said.

Whitmire is expected to begin her work with the city Feb. 22. As the convention and facilities sales manager, Whitmire will be in charge of bringing conventions and meetings to Gainesville facilities, such as the Frances Meadows Aquatic and Community Center and the Georgia Mountains Center.

Whitmire also will work to bring events to the Olympic rowing venue and other facilities not owned by the city as well as market less popular city attractions.

But though the city has severed financial ties with the CVB and created its own tourism marketing department, the new city department will work closely with the CVB on some projects, such as the large fishing tournament next summer, and also to coordinate scheduling of events.

“The main goal is just to bring more business into Gainesville, get more business to our hotels and also, to continue to have a vibrant downtown,” Padgett has previously said.