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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
The deadline for the next round of grants through the Accommodations Tax Project Funding Program is Thursday, Sept. 1.
The Accommodations Tax Funding Program provides project funds for ventures that promote area tourism. Eligible applicants include any individual, agency, group, business or non-profit organization whose project has a beneficial impact on Pike County. According to Pike County Economic Development Corporation Interim Executive Director Brenda Middendorf, the grant program is designed to encourage visitors to stay at Pike County lodging establishments.
“The important thing to consider when applying for the grant is that a project will replenish the accommodation tax fund,” Middendorf said. “The committee is particularly interested in applications that will benefit local lodges and hotels by increasing overnight stays.”
Middendorf said that the four percent accommodations tax was created in 2013 in order to encourage tourism in Pike County. The tax is paid by guests at lodging establishments, and is passed on to the county by the individual businesses.
Since its inception, the Accommodations Tax Funding Program has awarded 55 grants, totaling approximately $370,000.
Past recipients of the accommodations tax tourism grant include the Lincoln Days Civil War Reenactment, the New Philadelphia Association, Looking for Lincoln and Picture Pittsfield. In addition, past funds have been used to update lodging establishment websites, as well as to engage in marketing campaigns designed to promote tourism activities across Pike County.
Grant applications are reviewed on a quarterly basis by a Funding Advisory Committee composed of representatives from lodging establishments, county board representatives and the Pike County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director. The Advisory Board encourages creative projects that enhance the lives of residents of Pike County or promotes tourism in the community. Projects must also comply with all local laws and grantees are responsible for proper licensing, permits, insurance and other applicable requirements.
Projects will be evaluated using certain criteria including but not limited to: Potential number of guests to be generated by the project, with emphasis on overnight stays in the community; number of people the project will reach; financial need of the project; percentage of project funding being requested; “seed money” to start a new project or expand an existing project; quality of the project and the likelihood that the project will achieve the stated goals.
The application is available on the PCEDC website at www.pikeedc.org or by contacting the Pike County Economic Development Corporation at 217-491-2401. Applications must be received by 5:00 pm on Sept. 1st.