A new state grant program could mean more money for the Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District. The Indiana Office of Tourism Development is taking applications until April 13th for Indiana Tourism Trail grants.
Indiana Lt. Governor Becky Skillman recently announced the state has $75,000 ready to boost tourism. Any not-for-profit organization in connection with a government entity willing to match the grant, can apply for as much as $10,000. However, there isn’t much time for planning.
The Director of Parks and Recreation for Bloomington, Mick Renneisen, says the deadline and the amount of money being offered means Bloomington won’t be able to use the grant to enhance the B-Line trail or the switchyard.
“We’re not ready,” Renneisen says. “If we were to apply for a grant element today and if we said, well there’s an artistic element we’d like to see in the switchyard, which we’d like to do, we couldn’t say where, what, and how much it would cost, it’s just too early for us. So, that’s the draw back with some of the grants.”
Even though the Parks Department may not be able to use the grant, Renneisen is confident the program will still benefit the city.
The Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District will likely apply for the grant, and the Director of Economic and Sustainable Development for Bloomington, Danise Alano-Martin, says the discussion is on-going but the money will probably go to additional Way Finding Signage downtown, or an arts project in collaboration with Visit Bloomington.
“We’re really happy that the state supports that idea and wants to see communities really focus on their quality of place and wants to see them bring more tourists and visitors to towns, because that’s an extremely important economic driver for us in Bloomington specifically,” says Alano-Martin.
The state will be conducting progress reports on any approved projects so, according to both Alano-Martin and Renneisen, any proposed projects have to be immediately ready for development and capable of completion by the end of 2012.