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Center relocates Allison K. Sampité-montecalvo | Sat, Jan 05 2013 12:00 PM

The Chula Vista Visitor’s Center recently closed its storefront and relocated its services.

Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce board president Lisa Johnson said the reason is simply a cost-saving measure.

“Like any business, if your revenue is reduced you have to reduce your expenses,” Johnson said. “We’re going to continue to offer the same services out of the chamber (office).”

The storefront closed its doors Dec. 30.

Chula Vista marketing and communications manager Anne Steinberger said the city has discussed the center’s relocation since the spring.

“Back when the cuts were being made, the visitor’s center was one of the items that the city was no longer able to fund,” Steinberger said. “It was a good partnership. We appreciate that they were able to keep the visitor’s center open.”

The city funded operations for the center up until 2008 when it could no longer afford to fund it and then contracted with the chamber month-to-month to operate it.

Up until the switch, the city paid the chamber $250,000 and, in addition, the city received approximately $90,000 from MTS annually, which helped maintain the grounds.

Meanwhile, Steinberger said the city is pursuing a more “self-supporting” vendor option once the chamber vacates.

“We are going to look for another partner to see what kind of operation we can put in there to keep the location open,” she said.

At an Oct. 23 Chula Vista City Council meeting, council members voted 3 to 2 to dissolve the chamber’s tourism and marketing district, which funded the majority of the center.

The decision was based on a majority of petitions to disestablish submitted by 12 of the district’s 23 hotel/motel business owners between July and August who pay more than 50 percent of district assessments.

The chamber took on payments through the tourism and marketing district, established in July 2009, and allowed hoteliers in Chula Vista to charge their customers an extra 2.5 percent assessment on top of the standard city tax.

The tax passed through the city and was spent by the chamber, which was responsible for managing the district and its daily operations, including the operation of the visitor information center, as well as advertising to increase hotel and motel occupancy.

The Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce is located at 233 Fourth Ave.

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