County leaders approved $100,000 worth of Community Project Sponsorship Grants to help promote tourism Tuesday.
According to County Museum Services Director Jon Klusmire, who administers the grant, there were 30 applications seeking funding for various community events submitted by local chambers of commerce and community groups.
Of the 30 applications, only 22 received funding.
“They were all worthy, they were all great ideas,” Klusmire said, but, because there was only $100,000 in the pot, some projects were denied funding, and many applications that were accepted received less money than the applicant asked for. In all, $211,860 was requested.
Each application was considered by a review panel consisting of Margaret Woods of Lone Pine, Angie Aukee of Bishop, Rich White of Independence and Mary Canada, a former Sierra Business representative.
“The members of the review panel discussed the merits of each application and then individually completed an evaluation form for each application,” Klusmire said.
Ultimately, the county approved funding requests from the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, the Friends of the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery, the Bishop Museum and Historical Society, the Bishop Mural Society, the Jim and Beverly Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History, the Inyo Council for the Arts, the Bishop Chamber of Commerce and the Death Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce received funding for the Early Opener Trout Derby ($5,500); Images of Inyo Photo Contest ($5,500); the Inyo County Visitors Guide ($9,000); the Wild Wild West Marathon ($5,000); the Spring Jam, a new, multi-day music festival ($2,000); and the Hospitality High School Youth Work Program ($5,500) which aims to help get local youth trained and ready for summer, tourism-related jobs.
The Friends of the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery was awarded $5,000 for its annual Father’s Day Fishing Derby.
The Bishop Museum and Historical Society was awarded $1,500 for the Laws LOCOmotive Geocache Event.
The Bishop Mural Society was awarded $500 for a new map/brochure that would give visitors information and directions to the Bishop area’s 14 murals. The Mural Society also received $200 to upgrade its website.
The Jim and Beverly Rogers Museum of Film History received $6,000 for the new Lone Pine Short Film Festival, which will be held separate from the Lone Pine Film Festival and aims to draw in a new crowd.
The Inyo Council for the Arts was awarded $4,000 for the Inyo Frame contest, a promotional effort to attract artists to the area; and $800 for the 2012 Student Art Show.
The Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau received $7,500 for the Blake Jones Trout Derby; $7,500 for the Inyo County Backyard History films, a new project that will put short films promoting the area in the hands of potential visitors; $3,500 for the Rainbow Days Trout Display and Festival; $1,500 for the Inyo County FAM Tours, which educates local employees and business owners about tourism opportunities in hopes that they will pass that information on to visitors in the area; $5,000 to reprint the Eastern Sierra Treasure Map Brochure, which Klusmire says “just flies out the door”; and $9,000 to promote and support the 2012 California High School Rodeo State Finals.
The Death Valley Chamber of Commerce received $7,000 for its visitors guide and $7,000 for to provide for website translation into several European languages.
Klusmire said the division of funds was “almost like a perfect split” between the Eastern Sierra’s communities. “The panel’s work was strenuous, because there really wasn’t a bad idea in the bunch.”
One program the county chose not to fund was the Eastern Sierra Trout Opener press reception. First District Supervisor Linda Arcularius said she would like to see the program, which attracts outdoor journalists to the area, continue since it provides Inyo County with advertising via magazine and newspaper copy.
Bishop Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tawni Thomson said she hopes to continue the press reception, and advised the county to consider adding more money to the Community Project Sponsorship Grant to fund more programs, as the grant is growing in popularity and attracting more applicants than in previous years.