Temple’s heritage as a railroad center is a valuable resource that could be used to attract tourists to the city, community officials were told Tuesday.
A report compiled by the governor’s office and the Texas Historical Commission said the city has a number of strengths working for it now, as well as potential for the future, in terms of attracting visitors.
The findings were outlined during a Mayborn Convention Center and Tourism Advisory Board meeting. Nancy Glover of the city’s tourism office said the two officials from Austin, who in February spent two days assessing the city, apparently went away with good impressions of the city’s potential. Read about their visit here.
“They were impressed with the Railroad and Heritage Museum and also the revitalization of the downtown area,” she said.
In the report, the Railroad and Heritage Museum and surrounding area was cited for having strong potential for development into a tourist attraction.
Recommendations included incorporating the city’s railroad heritage into branding and marketing efforts to attract tourism to the city. The report also suggested encouraging retail and restaurants in the area of the railroad and museum, as well as making the Moody Depot, home of CentraMod (Central Texas Area Model Railroaders), more accessible to visitors.
The report also cited the Mayborn Civic and Convention Center and the Cultural Activities Center and their close proximity to each other. The report suggested capitalizing on that and mutually promoting events with both places.
She said the report suggested the city bring in an outside company to produce a tourism plan to help direct its future.
The 26-page report, done at no charge by the governor’s office, listed strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to tourism.
The report did cite the lack of visitor parking in the area and lack of signage as areas for needed improvements. Other strengths included the historic residential district, Temple College and regional partnerships such as the Central Texas Tourism Council.
Others listed as tourism opportunities were sports facilities, the Czech Heritage Museum, the potential for genealogy research, marketing, establishment of a convention and tourism bureau and the presence of festivals and events.
Among other recommendations, the report suggested the city attempt to become a Main Street City, capitalize on the Ma and Pa Ferguson connections to the city, highlight the landscape efforts done at Temple College, move portions of the CAC downtown for display and work harder to promote area events.
Recommendations also included integrating a map with districts and banners to facilitate visitors finding their way around and educating downtown business owners about the importance of visitor parking.
Ken Cicora, Temple Parks and Leisure Services director, said staff members would get together to sort through the recommendations.