Tourism grants to stay with city finance board
The city of Glenwood Springs’ Financial Advisory Board will continue to review and recommend requests for all discretionary grant funding, including those related to tourism promotion.
Earlier this year, the city’s Tourism Board asked City Council if it could take over administration of the 7.5 percent portion of the city’s tourism promotion fund that is set aside to provide grants for various events that might help boost tourism.
That money comes from a portion of collections from the city’s lodging tax, which goes to support tourism promotion efforts carried out by the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association under a special contract.
But the responsibility for awarding event-specific grants rests with FAB. Like the Tourism Board, it is appointed by council, but it has a broader responsibility to review other discretionary funding requests that come out of city sales taxes.
Those grants can include everything from funding for nonprofit human service organizations to one-time grants for youth groups and school-based clubs.
Event funding can have the dual benefit of helping to promote tourism while also giving locals something fun to do, Scott Grosscup, who chairs the FAB, said in convincing City Council at its Sept. 17 meeting to allow the FAB to continue oversight of the fund.
While the majority of the Tourism Board is made up representatives from the tourism and lodging sector and is focused on “putting heads in beds,” the FAB has a broader focus, Grosscup said.
“I think we are able to see projects that benefit both tourism and the community as a whole,” he said.
A prime example, he said, is the annual Oktoberfest celebration, which took place this past Saturday, and which serves as the finale for the summerlong Downtown Market series.
The event raises much of the operating revenue for the market organizers to put on the following year’s Tuesday night market series, said Cindy Svatos, who also sits on the FAB and who is one of the market organizers.
Grosscup said the FAB is willing to work with the Tourism Board in making the recommendations.
He even suggested that any larger grant requests, of say $10,000 or $15,000 or more, should perhaps be reviewed by both boards.
Council, however, said it didn’t see any reason to change how the various grant requests are reviewed and awarded currently. Those decisions ultimately rest with City Council anyway, they said.
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The Glenwood Springs-Rifle sports rivalry goes way back for GSHS baseball coach and former Demons multi-sport student-athlete Eric Nieslanik.