The Van Buren Advertising and Promotion Commission is lending support to the Western Arkansas Flying Disc tournament next month and aims to increase tourism with more alternative sporting events in the future.

With at least 100 disc golfers expected to attend the Western Arkansas Flying Disc tournament in Van Buren on March 21 at the Van Buren City Park, the commission voted to provide $1,000 to assist in funding of the tournament.

"Hopefully, it will grow and become a bigger event," Van Buren A&P Director Maryl Koeth said of the tournament. "We’re adding to the traditional downtown tourism with more alternative sporting events like 5Ks, 10Ks and a half marathon."

There are several 5Ks currently planned in Van Buren, including the Run With the Knights on March 7, Run For a Veteran 5K/1 Mile race April 4, and the Everyday Superhero 5K/1 Mile on May 30. Koeth said the commission is working with local running enthusiasts to have certified routes planned in anticipation of later events. It will cost $750 to have the course certified, she added.

"We’re excited about getting a course laid out," Koeth said of the half-marathon. "While we can do several 5Ks a year, we can probably only do one half marathon."

In other business, the commission heard November and December financial statements for collections received on the city’s 1 percent hospitality tax collected on lodging and prepared foods. Collections were down 1.4 percent in November from the same time the previous year, and up 1.9 percent in December over the same time the year before.

"Restaurants were up and did well in December, but the lodging properties were off by about 20 percent," Koeth said. "Last December the weather was horrific and I think the inclement weather pulled a lot of travelers off the interstate."