The Blaine Tourism Advisory Committee (BTAC) is accepting grant applications for projects meant to increase tourism in Blaine for 2011. The grants are funded through Blaine’s tax on hotels and motels within the city. The BTAC will be accepting applications until August 13. So far no applications have been received, said Debbie Harger, Blaine’s community development coordinator.
Harger said most applications in years past have come within the week before the due date.
The BTAC grants funded $85,000 worth of events in 2010. The most expensive event was the Blaine Jazz Festival, which received a $24,000 grant.
More than $12,000 in grant money went to the Old Fashioned Fourth of July, which attracted about 10,000 people, Harger said.
Harger said the amount of grant money available to fund tourism projects has declined in recent years.
Because the grant money comes solely from the hotel/motel tax, the amount available directly depends on how much business local hotels and motels have, she said.
“[The economic climate] won’t affect who applies, but it will affect the amount they receive,” Harger said. The key criterion for the BTAC recommending an application for Blaine city council approval is the project’s ability to attract tourists who will stay in Blaine’s hotels and motels, Harger explained.
More generally, the grant applications should present events and other projects designed to increase tourist spending in Blaine, she said.
The grant money is not meant to completely support a given tourism project, Harger said. Any organization seeking grant application approval must agree to match a certain percentage of the requested amount with its own funds, Harger continued.
Blaine has been awarding grants through the BTAC since 1999. So far, no grants have been awarded to projects seeking to construct something, such as a sign, Harger explained, though such a proposal would be allowed. Harger said she encourages ideas other than one-time events to be submitted.
A downloadable grant application form can be found on the city of Blaine’s website.
For more information on the grant program, call Harger at 360/332-8311.