North Platte Board of Directors approves several organizations’ grant requests

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Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 4:02 PM CST
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (Press Release) - On Oct. 19, the Visit North Platte Board of Directors reviewed the written applications and heard presentations from each of the six organizations that submitted applications for improvement funds. The applications total $692,806.83 in requests for projects representing a total investment of $13.6 million in improvements to area tourist, historical, and recreational facilities.

Considering the history of the fund in Lincoln County, the Improvement Fund Grant guidelines, and the precedence set by seventeen years of previous recommendations and awards, the Board of Directors at Visit North Platte have chosen to provide the following funding.

• The Board of Directors approved funding the Cody Park pickleball/tennis rebuild project in the amount of $100,000.

Kevin Wood, Mary Collins, and Joann Lundgreen presented an Improvement Fund Grant application in the amount of $100,000 to build a multi-sport facility with eight tennis courts and ten pickleball courts. Sports tourism is an ever-increasing segment of tourism in Lincoln County and having updated tennis/pickleball courts is an integral component of sports tourism. Another component of the mission of the Visit North Platte is assisting in the development of amenities for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. The board recognizes that the proposed improvement to these areas will draw in positive economic impact by providing the space needed to host tournaments, while benefiting North Platte residents.

• The Board of Directors approved funding for the Sutherland Veterans Memorial in the amount of $5,000.

Gene Tacey presented an Improvement Fund Grant application in the amount of $10,000 to help construct the Sutherland Veterans Memorial. The board of Visit North Platte commends the Village of Sutherland for this project that recognizes and memorializes our area veterans. The memorial, being constructed in Anchor Park, draws visitors and locals alike.

• The Board of Directors have chosen to decline funding to the Sutherland Rodeo for new RV hookups.

Janet Mueller and Mike Janecek presented an Improvement Fund Grant application in the amount of $65,718.83 to install 19 recreational vehicle hook-ups with water and a new dump station. The board encourages the Sutherland Rodeo to return and inquire about improvement funds for future projects to continue to maintain and improve the rodeo facilities.

• The Board of Directors approved funding for the Wallace Veterans Memorial in the amount of $5,000.

Cynthia Wickizer presented an Improvement Fund Grant application in the amount of $10,000 to help construct the Wallace Veterans Memorial. The board of Visit North Platte applauds the Village of Wallace for paying tribute to service men and women and celebrating the rich history of Lincoln County while drawing visitors to southwest Lincoln County.

• The Board of Directors approved $7,088 in funding for the William Jeffer’s house project at the Lincoln County Historical Museum.

Jim Griffin presented an Improvement Fund Grant application in the amount of $7,088 to replace the wood shingle roof on William Jeffer’s house with a new wood shingle roof. The Lincoln County Historical Museum is truly a local treasure, proven by the fact that visitation has grown from 7,500 annually to more than 24,000 under the curatorship of Jim Griffin. Maintaining the condition and historical integrity of the artifacts, including the historical buildings, is an important part of attracting these visitors.

• The Board of Directors has approved $500,000 for construction of the Linco Ag & Education Center for the Ag Society. Kristi Chessmore, Lynn Johnson, and Melanie O’Brien presented an Improvement Fund Grant application in the amount of $500,000 for construction of a multi-use facility. Multi-use facilities can propel a community to economic prosperity by bringing in major sporting events and agricultural opportunities that have a significant impact on the area economy.

The next round of Improvement Grant Funding will open on January 1, 2023. April 1, 2023 is the deadline for intent to apply letters, with the application deadline being July 31, 2023. Anyone interested in submitting a grant application is encouraged to contact Lisa Burke, Executive Director of Visit North Platte, at 308-532-4729 to discuss their project.

In addition to the Improvement Grant Fund Grants, the Visit North Platte Board of Directors reviewed the written applications and heard presentations from four organizations for Promotional Funds. The applications totaled $21,424.48 in requests and a total of $13,924.48 was awarded.

Like the Improvement Grants, these grant awards are also funded exclusively through the lodging taxes that are collected on overnight stays by lodging properties in Lincoln County. It is thanks to the lodging property partners located within the county that funds are available to attract more visitors.

Local event organizers continue to work hard to create fun and exciting events in North Platte that bring in visitors and contribute to the economic vitality of our community in addition to giving locals and visitors options for unique activities.

• The Board of Directors approved $5,000 in promotional funding to Rebel Sjeklocha for Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2023 sponsorship.

Rebel Sjeklocha presented a Promotional Fund Grant application in the amount of $5,000 for sponsorship of her 2023 Miss Rodeo Nebraska reign. Rebel will travel over 50,000 miles promoting rodeo, agriculture, and our western way of life over the next year. She is from North Platte and is proud of her hometown. She looks forward to serving as an ambassador for rodeo and North Platte.

• The board approved $924.48 in promotional funding to Dusty Trails LLC to use for the design and printing of 2,000 brochures for Sandhill Crane and Prairie Chicken tours.

Dusty Barner presented a Promotional Fund Grant application in the amount of $924.48 for creation and printing of brochures for Sandhill Crane and Prairie Chicken tours. The largest saturation of the Sandhill Crane migration is something that can only be experienced in central Nebraska. Because of this, local tourism related to birding has been on the rise in Lincoln County. Dusty Trails LLC offers guided tours to see the Sandhill Cranes and Prairie Chickens during the spring migration.

• The Board of Directors approved $3,000 in sports incentive funding to Midwest Championship Fighting St. Paddy’s Beatdown in March of 2023 to be used for added payout to help bring fighters to North Platte.

Russ Jones presented a Sports Incentive Fund Grant application in the amount of $10,000 to help offset the costs associated with hosting the St. Paddy’s Beatdown MMA fight event. Midwest Championship Fighting events in North Platte have continued to provide entertainment for visitors and locals alike.

• The Board of Directors approved $5,000 in sports incentive funding to the North Platte Area Sports Commission to provide additional payout for the March American Cornhole League tournament. Samantha Geisler presented a Sports Incentive Fund Grant application in the amount of $5,500 for prize money and facility rental for the American Cornhole League tournament in March of 2023. The Sports Commission is continuously working toward the goal of increasing economic activity from sports tourism. This event is part of those efforts and will bring benefit to the whole community.

The next round of funding for the Promotional Fund Grants is now open, with a January 1, 2023, deadline for events or projects occurring in April, May, and June 2023. These applications will be considered at the regular monthly Board of Directors meeting scheduled for January 25, 2023. Anyone interested in submitting a grant application is encouraged to contact the Visitors Bureau at 308-532-4729 and discuss their project with a staff member.

It is very important to emphasize that the activities of Visit North Platte are funded solely through lodging tax revenue that consists of a 2% collection for promotion activities and a 2% collection for Improvement activities. No other public funds, not property taxes nor sales taxes, are administered by Visit North Platte.

The Visit North Platte Board of Directors takes very seriously the responsibility entrusted to it to administer the funds received from lodging tax revenue. The traveling public who pays these taxes when they stay overnight in Lincoln County must have confidence that their investment is used to enhance their experience while in our communities. The Board of Directors believes that the above funding recommendations fulfill this trust and represent the greatest return on investment of the lodging tax revenue. Both our communities and our visitors will benefit from this further expansion of our tourism inventory