Indiana tourism officials will have a new $400,000 pool to tap this year to attract visitors.
Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman on Wednesday announced a new grant program called The Place Based Investment Fund to provide grants for "community and economic development projects to enhance Indiana cities and towns.”
The Indiana Office of Tourism Development will contribute $300,000 from the state’s general fund to the grant pool. Another $100,000 will come from the state’s tobacco settlement money through the Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
Convention and visitor bureaus, local and regional economic development agencies, units of local government and community foundations are eligible to apply for the grants, which will range from $25,000 and $50,000 each.
The Place Based Investment Fund grant was created as a result of the 2011 Tourism in the 21st Century study, led by the tourism offices, Ball State University and the University of Southern Indiana. The study included input from more than 200 local government and economic development officials who attended town hall meetings throughout Indiana. An additional 500 Indiana tourism and economic development experts were surveyed, state officials said.
The grants will be targeted toward initiatives across Indiana that benefit residents as well as visitors. Examples of eligible initiatives include streetscapes, parks, sidewalk improvements and other capital projects unique to an area, Skillman said, adding that she expects the new grants to create a “lasting impact.”
There is a one-to-one cash match requirement to qualify for the grant. At least two partners must contribute to the cash match, although it is not necessary that the match be shared equally between the partners.
Additional cash-match funding will receive favorable consideration, state officials said, and state and federal funds and in-kind contributions will not count toward the match.