By Andra Bryan Stefanoni
Globe Staff Writer
PITTSBURG, Kan. —
The Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau has opened its annual grant program with one major change: Grant applications will now be accepted throughout the year.
In the past, grant applications were accepted for about 60 days after the program opened, usually on Sept. 1. With this change, grant applications for 2013 will be accepted through Oct. 31, 2013.
“Expanding the application period will allow more organizations to take advantage of our grant program,” said B.J. Harris, director of the tourism bureau.
“Preference will still be given to the earliest applicants; later applications will not be considered once grant funds have been exhausted.”
The bureau sets aside a portion of its budget each calendar year toward grants for the marketing of events that display tourism potential. These grants are to assist qualified applicants and/or organizations with the advertising and promotion of activities that strive to directly increase hotel occupancy in designated periods throughout the year, and to build the image of Crawford County and the Southeast Kansas region.
A recent 2 percent increase by the Crawford County Commission to the transient guest tax is expected to increase revenue and allow for additional grant funding, Harris said.
“I would like to increase our grant funding to around $10,000 annually," he said.
The expanded timeline will allow the bureau to help fund events throughout the year and will help certain organizations that may not have dates or initial funding in place.
“It would be unfortunate to miss out on a great opportunity because an applicant missed the relatively small window to apply,” Harris said.
Qualifying entities must be not-for-profit organizations, museums, attractions or other entities seeking to produce and promote a defined cultural, theme or community festival, event or sports event.
In 2011, the bureau gave more than $6,000 in grant funds to four events: the Miners Hall Museum Smithsonian exhibit, Tailwind Cyclists events, Smoking Hot BBQ and Fireworks, and the Pitt Open Disc Golf Tournament.
Preference will be given to grant requests received before Nov. 15, but applications will be accepted through Oct. 31, 2013. Grant allocations after Dec. 31, 2012, will depend on remaining grant funds. The final decision on the allocation of funds will be made by the tourism bureau’s advisory board after a review of the applications and a formal presentation by all applicants.
How to apply
GRANT APPLICATIONS and guidelines may be downloaded at www.visitcrawfordcounty.com/grants. Applications also may be picked up from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Crawford County CVB offices at 117 W. Fourth St. Completed grant applications may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, dropped off at the office, or mailed to P.O. Box 1115, Pittsburg, KS 66762, c/o Crawford County CVB Grant Program.