March 29, 2023 651 PM
PRESIDIO — At Tuesday night’s meeting, the Presidio Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) nominated officers among current board members. With election season in full swing — and changes in leadership on Presidio’s school board and city council just around the corner — the nomination process will help the CVB navigate the challenges ahead.
The CVB Board is currently made up of President Arian Velázquez-Ornelas, Vice President Steven “Nicky” Alvarez and Secretary Manuela Avila, as well as members Matthew Boane and Elvira Hermosillo. The board tracks and votes on proposed uses of the city’s hotel occupancy (HOT) tax.
State law designates how HOT funds can be used, and Presidio’s CVB Board earmarks the funds toward a number of projects, including a visitors center and information kiosks for tourists around town. They also fund and host cultural events intended to draw in visitors — from live music to annual Fourth of July celebrations. “When I think about us, I think about fun,” said Board Member Matthew Boane.
Boane volunteered himself to take on both the role of vice president and of treasurer — the latter of which is a role currently fulfilled by multitasking President Arian Velázquez-Ornelas. “I’d like to do the paperwork part — that’s always the hardest part,” he said.
As a relatively new Presidio transplant, Boane dedicates his time to serving the community. In addition to his teaching job at Presidio High School, he serves on the volunteer fire department, helps run the American Legion and volunteers for youth-led projects like Project Homeleaf and the Presidio Recycling Center. “Presidio is a wonderful place with a rich history and great people — I feel it’s important to give something back, so I try to wear as many hats around here as possible,” he said.
The CVB Board also nominated and approved keeping Arian Velázquez-Ornelas on as board president. Velázquez-Ornelas has served city government in various capacities for two decades — starting with a position on the now-defunct Chamber of Commerce, where she helped carry on fun Presidio traditions benefitting the whole community.
Velázquez-Ornelas currently also serves on Presidio City Council, and feels that the roles complement each other well. Being a council member is a way for her to serve her neighbors — and being on the CVB Board puts her in a position to share the magic of the community with tourists.
Taking in the local landscape with fresh eyes can help transform visitors’ perspectives — and those of the people who live in the area they’re visiting. “When you’re a local you tend to forget what’s so important and so grand about this area,” she said.
For Velázquez-Ornelas, serving city government in various capacities is all about bringing people together and making decisions that benefit the community — whether that means passing health and safety ordinances or coordinating food truck vendors for a city event. “We can all work together and honor our community while at the same time preserving it and conserving it,” she said.