FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 25, 2015
Dave Parker, Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 406-444-9844
Daniel Iverson, Public Information Office, Montana Office of Tourism, 406-841-2893
HELENA, Mont. – Governor Steve Bullock and Montana Department of Commerce Director Meg O’Leary announced the first round of tourism grants under a new program it launched July 1, 2015. Awarded funds totaling $718,053 will support 12 projects designed to develop and enhance Montana’s nearly $4-billion tourism industry.
“Montana’s tourism economy is headed for another record-breaking year as more and more non-resident visitors are coming to experience our spectacular, unspoiled nature and vibrant small towns,” said Bullock. “And while this is great news for the economy, it also means our local businesses have to adapt to provide for increased demand, and grant programs such as this one help them grow and expand to be able to meet those needs.”
The Montana Department of Commerce restructured its former tourism grant programs to be more accessible, flexible and inclusive by combining funds into a single $1-million pool and accepting applications year-round instead of requiring set deadlines.
“Including matching funds, this investment will support nearly $1.4 million in projects to improve the Montana experience for both visitors and residents alike,” said O’Leary. “We were pleased to see communities from all parts of the state apply to make use of this valuable resource that’s available to them.”
Funding is available under four categories: digital development, infrastructure, event paid media advertising and trade show assistance — a new category added to support ambassadors who promote Montana through their professional networks at trade shows.
The first round of recipients and projects for fiscal year 2016 funds includes:
- Powell County, Blue Ribbon Pavilion Improvements, Deer Lodge, $185,075 (Infrastructure)
- Eastern Montana Fair Board, Eastern Montana Fairgrounds Livestock Pavilion, Miles City, $117,575 (Infrastructure)
- City of Cut Bank, Cut Bank Trails – Coulee Segment, Cut Bank, $12,500 (Infrastructure)
- A Carousel for Missoula Foundation, A Carousel for Missoula Building Expansion, Missoula, $100,000 (Infrastructure)
- Daly Mansion Preservation Trust, Restoring the Murray Suites at the Daly Mansion, Hamilton, $12,000 (Infrastructure)
- Swan Mountain Outfitters, Crown of the Continent Interpretive Display, Swan Lake, $185,000 (Infrastructure)
- MonDak Heritage Center, Updated Museum Lighting, Sidney, $8,000 (Infrastructure)
- Blaine County Wildlife Museum Foundation, Wildlife Museum Foothills Diorama, Chinook, $59,570 (Infrastructure)
- Rudyard Depot Museum, Memorial Building, Rudyard, $30,000 (Infrastructure)
- Montana Distiller’s Guild, MT Distiller’s Guide Website Development, Butte, $2,333 (Digital Development)
- Cut Bank Area Chamber of Commerce, Holiday Bazaar & Parade of Lights, Cut Bank, $4,000 (Paid Media Advertising)
- Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, SCI Trade Show Attendance, Montana City, $2,000 (Trade Show Assistance)
"This grant allows the Cut Bank Trails to continue moving forward to provide safe and accessible trails for the public, and also demonstrates the State's recognition of the value of our mission and its commitment to ensuring Montana remains the best possible place to live," said Amy Overstreet, Cut Bank Trails Committee Member. "The State of Montana's investment in our trail system will also make Cut Bank a marketable destination, instead of the drive-through community that we currently are. Partnering with the State is another example of the Montana way of working together for the benefit of all."
As a Montana Main Street Affiliate Community and recipient of two tourism grants this year, the City of Cut Bank has taken great strides to reinvest in their community. Amy Overstreet has also championed projects such as the purchase and ongoing rehabilitation of the Public Drug building, a historic structure in downtown Cut Bank.
Applications are accepted online throughout the fiscal year July 1 through June 30, or until the funding pool is allocated. With these recent awards, $281,947 of the $1 million pool remains through June 30, 2016.
All categories require matching funds, and eligibility varies by category. Complete details may be found online at http://tourism.mt.gov/MarketingDevelopment/GrantProgram or by contacting Carol Crockett, Grant Manager, at 406-841-2796 or CCrockett@mt.gov.