Athens City Council met in committees on Monday to discuss updates on the new fire station and to hear from Visit Athens County.
Service-Safety Director Andrew Stone said the Council appropriated $600,000 last year for the purchase and preparation of the site for the new fire station. The bond proceeds were $9 million, which leaves $8.4 million available for construction.
Stone said the current goal is to open bidding on March 15 and have an award by March 20 so construction can start in April.
The body also heard from Boone Troyer, the executive director of Visit Athens County, who discussed the bureau’s goals and accomplishments.
Troyer said Visit Athens County hosted Athena Ride for Women, an all-female motorcycle rally in Athens that was the first of its kind. It will be held again this year from Aug. 2 to Aug. 5.
Troyer said Visit Athens County brought 870,000 visitors to Athens County in 2021, generating $28.4 million in total tax revenue. The events and projects also brought in business sales, generating $43.9 million in retail trade, $34.5 million in food and beverages, $21.8 million in lodging, and $10.8 million in recreation and entertainment.
He said visitor activities sustained 2,323 jobs, which accounts for 7.7% of Athens County employment.
Troyer said the bureau is also working on expanding its advertising into professional sports. Already, the bureau has secured advertisements in the Cincinnati Bengals gameday program and is currently contracting with the Cleveland Guardians, the Chicago Bulls, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns, many of which include ads in the gameday programs.