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City Council formally approves tourism logo for Morris

The tourism and marketing logo recommended by the Tourism Board and approved by the City Council this week was designed by Superior Industries. The logo is not the official logo for the City of Morris, and will only be used when marketing and promoting Morris as a tourism destination.

MORRIS, Minn. - The Morris City Council formally approved a logo to be used for marketing and tourism efforts in Morris at their meeting on Tuesday based on a recommendation from the Tourism Board.

The logo was one of three recommendations to come from the tourism board at Tuesday's meeting.

The approved logo is not the original logo prepared by HBH Consultants, a firm hired by the city last year to develop tourism communications plan. Instead, the approved logo was designed by Superior Industries after discussions about the logo at the Tourism Board's meeting in March.

According to the minutes from the March 21 Tourism Board meeting, "there was a lively discussion regarding whether to recommend the submitted logo" and that some at the meeting "felt that the agricultural tourism focus was under-represented in the logo."

"This is a logo that is going to be used for tourism, marketing and promoting Morris," said City Manager Blaine Hill at the council meeting. "It's not a general logo for the city or necessarily the Chamber or anything else."

The second recommendation was a budget for Prairie Pioneer Days. The Tourism Board recommended a budget with revenues of $4,340 - $3,000 from vendor registrations and $1,330 from button sales - and expenses of $10,343. The difference will be made up with $6,403 from the Lodging Tax.

The budget is essentially the same budget as the council approved last year. The big change is some extra time reimbursement to the Chamber for their work on Prairie Pioneer Days, said Hill.

Once final numbers come back from the event, the Morris Area Chamber of Commerce will make a reimbursement request to the council.

Finally, the council approved a first quarter reimbursement for tourism-related expenses to the Morris Area Chamber of Commerce for $5,125. The council previously approved a $20,000 tourism budget for the year.

All three recommendations were passed without discussion from the council members, and passed unanimously. Council Member Matt Carrington was not at Tuesday's meeting.

Council wants to move on old elementary school development

Council Member Bill Storck expressed frustration that work isn't moving faster to address the problems at the old elementary school. He suggested the council should get together for a work session to "clear the air and say some of the things we want to say that I don't want to say here, to get things going."

"That school's going to be sitting there for 20 years if we don't come up with something, and I don't want to see any development there with the school still standing there," said Storck.

Hill said there were some individuals interested in doing something with the property, but what goes forward will depend on the economy and what companies think they can make money on.

"Probably what I'm going to do is recommend you take proposals on the land - this is probably going to be after the building decision is made - that's the best way to find out what people are interested in," said Hill.

Storck said he thought the city should give the land away to someone that would build on the land to grow the city's tax base - "I don't know who would ever want to buy that land," he said.

Council Member Twig Webster said selling the land could help offset the cost of demolishing the old elementary school building.

"It's 17 acres of land right in town, and you don't find that hardly anywhere else," said Hill.

Council Member Jeff Miller said the council needed to wait to see what proposals come up for use of the property and work on a timeline for when to get started.

Hill said his timeline was still to do something with the property in 2013, but might start advertising for proposals this year.

Other business

• The council approved a street dance permit for Rock the Groundz, which is scheduled for Friday, July 13 and Saturday, July 14.

• The city will open bids for summer milling and overlay projects on May 3, which will come to the council for approval on May 8.

• The council planned their next meeting for Tuesday, May 8 at 9 a.m. at the Morris Area High School auditorium.