While its location isn't new, management of operations will be. The visitor information center that's been located inside the lobby at the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center in Superior has a new manager - and it's a familiar entity. The Bong Center has taken over operations effective January 3.

The move follows the departure of Travel Superior - formerly known as the Superior Douglas County Visitors Bureau, who was in charge of operations up to this point. When Travel Superior's agreement with the city ended, that left the visitors center without anyone in charge, according to details shared in an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall].

CIty leaders and Bong Center administrators didn't want to see that happen.  Superior Tourism Development Commision Chair Lindsey Graskey explains, "....we needed to jump in and not lapse anything with the visitor center". The transition is expected to be relatively smooth;  Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center Director John Gidley adds:

"It's been here for many, many years, and we've kind of seen how it's operated.  At this point we're just going to take it over and just run it like it's been run by Travel Superior.  I always thought they did a good job of it.  It shouldn't be a difficult transition...we've got the gist of how it operates."

While many things won't be changing in how the visitor and tourism center operates, there will be new employees.  The Bong Center is hiring some additional staff to man the tourist center.  Cross-training will be the norm.

The employees will perform double-duties - a situation that'll be beneficial for both centers.  The article in the Telegram details how that will work:

"The museum is planning to cross-train its gift shop staff to assist tourists who come in for information when dedicated visitor center staff are unavailable....There have been times [in the past] when Travel Superior hasn't been able to staff the visitor center...leaving museum staff to pick up the slack.  ....[T]his will give...staff the opportunity to learn the job more thoroughly than in the past."

For the time being, the Superior Tourism Development Commision is "holding" a larger grant request from the Bong Center in committee pending review.  Last year the Bong Center received $164,223; the request for 2023 is $174,405.

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