Two representatives from the Texas Historical Commission will be in Alpine next week to set the stage for us to be the fourth city in Texas to participate in an on-line historic inventory.
Emily Koller, who first approached Historic Alpine President Kip Sullivan to see if residents could provide some volunteer help for the project, will be here with Brian O’Connor, a member of the commission’s economic development team.
Sullivan and Chamber of Commerce President Martha Latta have agreed to accompany the pair as they split up into two teams to walk around downtown Alpine collecting information and taking pictures that will be used to populate the inventory.
“The goals for this trip are to: 1. complete the building inventory and 2. meet some of the key downtown property owners and stakeholders to introduce the software and how it might help achieve some of the long-term goals for downtown,” Koller wrote to Latta in an email.
Koller said she would develop inventory forms from information Latta provided “and we will go from building to building collecting the rest of the information, or as much as possible, and photographing each.”
While here, she also hopes to meet with some property and business owners over coffee or breakfast on Tuesday before she and O’Connor return to Austin.
More news about visitors
Brewster County Tourism Council officials reported to county commissioners on Tuesday.
In his first quarter as executive director, Robert Alvarez said the council’s website had recorded 337,000 page views and had distributed almost 1,000 brochures.
Alvarez and Texas Tourism hosted 10 visitors from Beijing. And Welcome to Austin, a new magazine, recently published a five-page spread on the Big Bend.
He said a big “international pow wow” of tour operators is scheduled for June in New Orleans. By attending that event, the council will present information to encourage tourism from around the world.
Council President Ron Sanders said the council is acquiring some touch-screen consoles at $700 each that can be placed in visitor centers, hotel lobbies and the like to solicit visitor feedback.
It asks only a zip code from the participant then asks questions like where they heard about the Big Bend, what highways they used coming here and how they will go back, what activities they would participate in and a few other questions.
Responses will be sent immediately to the council’s computers in Alpine.
He said with the zip code entered with the data, they would be able to note a spike in people coming from certain areas and be able to determine that their advertising worked.
Sanders said the council has paid Texas A&M $40,000 to $60,000 for surveys to get information they could get on the touch screens.
And Sanders said the council is considering a telephone app called “Just Ahead” that would tell a user about an area he was about to enter.
It would be at no cost to the user but would cost the council about $40,000 to set up and $5,000 per year. Sanders said there was not enough in the line item in the council’s budget so, after going to the tourism board for approval, he would come back to the county for a budget amendment before creating the app.
Jim Street writes about Alpine and Brewster County. He can be reached at 432-837-3334, firstname.lastname@example.org or 118 N. 5th St.