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Mayor asks TDB to sponsor Cumberland Caverns Live
Ben Newman
Ben Newman has ascended from vice mayor to become McMinnville mayor.

Mayor Ben Newman requested for the Tourism Development Board to help sponsor Cumberland Caverns Live.

According to Newman, Cumberland Caverns representatives came to him personally and before the McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

“They came to us with a whole plan of advertising they want to do with the city and we couldn’t do it because the comptroller told us we couldn’t,” said Newman. “The city could not give money directly to Cumberland Caverns Live because it is a for-profit company.”

Asked TDB member Christy Ross, “How did they do it for Bluegrass Underground?”

“They gave the money to a nonprofit because WCTE was involved,” answered Newman. “I think it will be in our charter as a TDB. Even though it is not in the McMinnville city limits, the people visiting are going to come to McMinnville where the hotels are, the businesses, the restaurants, a lot of gas stations. The draw is the cave but the money they are going to leave here is mostly going to be within the city of McMinnville.”

Newman went on to explain that Cumberland Caverns requested around $40,000 from the city for more advertising, which would also advertise the city of McMinnville.

“Is this something that you anticipate the city wanting to earmark specific things to flow through TDB  or do you want us to budget with the existing fund structure we have right now?” asked TDB member Michael Griffith.

More discussion followed along with a few lower figures, specifically $10,000.

“Honestly, $10,000 is probably one show if you want to know what you’re helping them get,” said Ross.

Interjected Griffith, “I wouldn’t even care to sign up for $40,000 spread over two or three years. That way they can start budgeting and booking acts.”

After further debate, the Tourism Board approved a $40,000 commitment over a three-year period to give to the Chamber to earmark for Cumberland Caverns for advertising purposes with TDB member and Chamber president Mandy Eller to oversee its implementation.

The TDB typically meets once a month at 4:30 p.m. at the Chamber.