Harold Segroves addressed the council, saying that he is chairing a committee at the Celebration to raise awareness in the community of the importance of the annual walking horse show to the local economy and to welcome visitors.
He's asking both the city and the county to contribute to this tourism effort "to help out one of our biggest industries."
One part of their plan is to have a visitors' welcoming ribbon from the Celebration Association that they intend to distribute to the business and retail community.
The second part of the plan is to have pole banners similar to the type that have been displayed on Shelbyville's public square. He passed out a proposed design with an image of a Tennessee Walking Horse, welcoming fans and stating, "We are the Celebration!"
"The Celebration is important to Shelbyville as Jack Daniel's is to Lynchburg," he said. "I see this as an investment in our tourism trade, and with our retailers."
Segroves asked for a contribution from the city of Shelbyville of a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $2,500.
He said he knows that times are tough, but believes that this is an important investment. Segroves said he has already asked local industry to step up and support the idea, saying that Newell-Rubbermaid and Heritage Medical Center have made contributions, and that the county has agreed as well.
The plan is to put up 50 of the banners, and if they receive more funding, then there will be more banners. The cost would be $100 for a single banner and the hardware to mount it to utility pole. The Celebration also intends to add more banners every year, Segroves said.
He said that while some people dread the Celebration coming to town due to the extra traffic, the community needs to be educated how much the annual event means to the economic well-being of the city.
"If we did not have that influx of tourist dollars, what would the property tax rate be then?" he asked. "I think it would be significantly higher."
Council member Kay Rose says that many citizens forget that the walking horse is an very important industry for Shelbyville.
"If Calsonic, or Tyson Foods, or Newell were thinking of moving and there was something we could do keep that from happening, I'd think we'd pull out all the stops," Segroves replied.
But, he added, the Celebration isn't going anywhere, and asked the city to join hands with them to let everyone know what the tourist dollars mean to the community.
Councilman Sam Meek suggested making the banners more generic to promote the city so that they could be used for different occasions. Segroves said he was open to designing different banners for the public square, but that he was on an industrial mission for the Celebration.