Inyo County will be dividing $80,000 among 13 different programs and 7 agencies through the county-funded Community Project Sponsorship Grant program.
Local leaders awarded funds to the Lone Pine, Death Valley and Bishop chambers of commerce, Playhouse 395, the Bishop Museum and Historical Society, the Friends of the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery and the Bishop Mural Society.
In addition to the 13 programs that were funded, a volunteer review panel that scrutinized each of the grant applications was forced to reject eight proposals that either did not fit the criteria for the grant program, or simply because there was not enough money to go around.
The review panel – consisting of five residents: Rich White of Independence, Anna Scott of Bishop, Vickie Taton of Bishop, Patricia Briggs of Independence and Paula Brown-Williams of Bishop – is asked to review each of the grant applications and score them based 11 criteria, ranging from “community support” and “measurable outcomes” to “sustainability” and the “overall merit” of the program.
After scoring each applicant, the review panel makes a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on which programs should be funded, and which should be rejected.
At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, county leaders approved two requests from the Death Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber requested $7,600 for website upgrades. The board approved $7,000 for that project, which will translate the site into Chinese, Korean, Italian and Dutch. Last year’s Community Sponsorship Grant funded a similar upgrade that translated the site into French, German and Italian.
“The panel again though this was an excellent idea, considering the current and potential number of international visitors to Death Valley National Park and Inyo County,” County Museum Services Director Jon Klusmire, who handles the grant review process, said.
The Chamber also requested $7,250 to print additional copies of the Death Valley Visitor’s Guide. The board approved $6,000 for that project. Klusmire said the guide will be distributed at Death Valley events, will be mailed to potential visitors who are looking for information on Death Valley, and is available online in a digital copy.
The board also approved $2,000 for the Bishop Museum and Historical Society to be used for the sixth annual Laws Railroad Museum Benefit concert.
Bishop’s Playhouse 395 requested $1,575 for a new, user-friendly online calendar for all Inyo County events that will allow local organizations to link their calendars and provide event and program information. The board approved $1,500 for that project.
The Community of Independence/ Friends of the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery requested $6,000, and received full funding, for its annual Independenc Fishing Derby held Father’s Day weekend each year. “This annual fishing derby is a traditional local event that brings out-of-county visitors to the region, and promotes angling opportunities in the Independence area, including the Owens River,” Klusmire said.
The Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau was awarded three grants, $8,500 for the redesign and reprint of the Eastern Sierra Treasure Map Brochure; $8,000 for the Blake Jones Trout Derby; and $9,500 for the California High School Rodeo State Finals Championships.
Klusmire said the Treasure Map is used by a number of promotional organizations as a hand-out to visitors. He added that the Blake Jones Trout Derby, held each March, attracts about 1,000 anglers from across the state to the area for early angling action before the April fishing opener. As for the High School Rodeo Finals, Klusmire said the event “brings hundreds of high school athletes and their families to the area, introducing a new group of visitors and a new generation to Inyo County and the Eastern Sierra.”
The board also approved four grant requests from the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce: $7.000 for the Wild Wild West Marathon; $9,000 for the Inyo County Visitors Guide; $6,500 for the Early Opener Trout Derby; and $7,500 for the Images of Inyo Photo Contest.
According to Klusmire, the Wild Wild West Marathon is a 35-year tradition “and has become part of the national, distance-race ‘circuit.’”
The visitor’s guide is “one of the few promotional materials that includes every region of Inyo County, and is an integral part of the overall marketing effort for local chambers of commerce and the county,” Klusmire said.
Klusmire said Lone Pine’s Early Opener Fishing Derby “has been a successful event for many years, both in terms of numbers of anglers attending and the amount of publicity generated.” He added that last year’s derby was one of the most successful in recent years.
The Images of Inyo Photo contest is a county-wide program that generated 169 entries last year. “The event, and the significant amount of national advertising in photo-related media, promotes Inyo County as a photography destination,” Klusmire said. “All the contest photos can be used by promotional organizations throughout the county.”
The final grant the board approved was $1,500 to the Bishop Mural Society for its Fallen Heroes Memorial Mural. According to Klusmire, the Mural Society “plans to create a mural honoring (Bishop Police) Officer Richard Perkins and other law enforcement personnel in Inyo County history who have given their lives while helping others.”
The mural will be located on the south wall of Culver Sporting Goods on Main Street in Bishop. The society will also acknowledge the county’s contribution on the mural, its website and elsewhere.
With the award of the grants, each applicant will move forward with their proposed projects and return to the Board of Supervisors after the completion of each event or project to request reimbursement for the board-approved grant amount.