Originally created 11/22/06

Department will give out grants that up tourism



The Battle of Aiken. Arts in the Heart of Aiken. The Gold Cup. The Bluegrass Festival. The fall and spring steeplechases.

These are just a few of the community events that have received accommodations tax funding in past years, and the Aiken Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department is accepting funding requests for tourism-related projects that will take place between July 1 and June 30, 2008.

Accommodation tax grants are available to nonprofit organizations that hold tourist-attracting events in or near the Aiken city limits.

"It's a reimbursement grant program. Nobody gets the money up front," said Lisa Hall, the recreation department's program supervisor.

This year, she said, the department will award about $104,000 in accommodations tax funding.

Ms. Hall said the grants usually are spent on marketing and advertising for an event in areas outside a 50-mile radius of the city. Eligible events must attract visitors who will stay in Aiken overnight.

"I think it's a great opportunity for special events that are looking to bring in more tourism," she said of the program.

The forms must be completed and turned in to Ms. Hall at H. Odell Weeks Activity Center by 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6. Mailed applications also must be received by the deadline date. A review of the applications by a committee is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Ms. Hall said applicants should be notified about the grants by the end of April.

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (803) 648-1395, ext. 113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.

TAKING REQUESTS

The Aiken Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department is accepting marketing and advertising funding requests from nonprofit organizations that will be holding tourist-attracting events in or near the Aiken city limits between July 1 and June 30, 2008.


Applications are available at H. Odell Weeks Activity Center or at www.aiken.net. Applications can be mailed to: City of Aiken PRT Department, Attention Lisa Hall, A-tax Program, P.O. Box 1177, Aiken, SC 29802. The deadline is 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6. For more information, call (803) 642-7650.