Caboose, boat dock among grant recipients

$30,000 in tourism funds approved

LOCK HAVEN — A digital sign for the Clinton County Fairgrounds, a proposed boat dock next to downtown Lock Haven to attract more visitors, and painting The Little Red Caboose are among projects approved for tourism and recreation grants this year.

The Clinton County Tourism/Recreation Grant Committee has approved $30,000 worth of reimbursement grants for 2017, going to 11 local government and nonprofit organizations.

The grant recipients must provide at least 25 percent of the total project costs to take advantage of the funding.

The grants were announced at Thursday’s county commissioners’ meeting by Julie Brennan, county tourism/chamber of commerce director.

“Signage and way-finding projects were the priority this year,” she said.

In some cases, the tourism grant funds are seed money for the recipients.

The grant funds come through the county’s 5 percent overnight lodging tax assessed to hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, private homes that rent. The tax money is collected by the county Treasurer’s Office and appropriated to the Tourism Promotion Agency under the Clinton County Economic Partnership, Brennan explained.

Besides the treasurer’s office, the county planning office is a big help, she added.

A committee consisting of Brennan, Commissioner Pete Smeltz and Planner Tim Holladay choose the grant recipients, as prescribed by the hotel tax statute.

Prior to last summer, the county tax was 3 percent, but the state Legislature gave individual counties the option of increasing it, and Clinton commissioners did so after reviewing a lengthy list of tourism-related priorities developed by Brennan. Last year, about $23,000 in grants were awarded.

The tax revenue means there is “no burden on county taxpayers to fund tourism,” Brennan said.

Richard Morris, formerly on the Clinton County Historical Society board, thanked the committee for granting funds to the “Little Red Caboose” in Castanea Township, which is rented for overnight lodging. In fact, he said, the caboose is rented for many weekends this season already, and contributes directly to the hotel tax fund.

Below is the list of grant recipients:

r Sentimental Journey to Cub Haven Inc.: Refurbish fly-in bath houses, plumbing, doors, flooring, painting and drains. $2,375 project cost; $1,782 requested, $1,500 awarded.

r Clinton County Arts Council: Help fund indoor and outdoor lighting upgrades for Station Gallery in Lock Haven, plus LHJAMS festival banner and pop-up tents. $2,181 project cost; $1,579 requested, $1,500 awarded.

r Downtown Lock Haven Inc.: Help with expenses for Hometown Hero Banner Program celebration on Aug. 12 at Corman Amphitheatre and Triangle Park in Lock Haven. $22,500 project cost; $5,000 requested, $1,000 awarded.

r City of Lock Haven: Help purchase and install a 60-foot-long boat dock on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, near Corman Amphitheatre. Includes construction of four concrete anchor pads. Dock will be seasonal; removed in winter months. $27,250 project cost; $5,000 requested, $5,000 awarded.

r Summer Concert Series, City of Lock Haven: 2017 Summer Concert Series costs for presenting 11 free concerts at Corman Amphitheatre and 13 at Triangle Park. $26,125 project cost; $3,500 requested, $3,500 awarded.

r Clinton County Fair Association: Purchase and installation of a permanent digital sign/billboard to be posted along Route 220/Interstate 99 to promote the fair and other events happening at the fairgrounds near Mackeyville. $37,775 project cost; $28,300 requested, $6,500 awarded.

r Western Clinton County Recreation Authority: Youth Center weight room, interior wall covering, trim and rubber flooring, outdoor landscaping and concrete sidewalks, plus keyless entry system purchase and installation. $12,637 project cost; $71,35 requested, $2,500 awarded.

r Clinton County Historical Society: Restore and repaint the Little Red Caboose parked at the Castanea Train Station historic site, which is available for overnight lodging for two. $3,625 project cost; $2,719 requested, $2,500 awarded.

r Pennsylvania State Flaming Foliage Festival: Parade of Queens expenses, cost of printing festival program book, plus website promotion costs. $30,000 project cost; $5,000 requested, $2,000 awarded.

r Lock Haven Area YMCA: Costs to host the Silver Districts and Novice Championships at Lock Haven University pool facility. $6,667 project cost; $5,000 requested, $1,000 awarded.

r Millbrook Playhouse: Cost of 2017 Summer Season marketing campaign in radio, print, mailings and more. $6,025 project cost; $5,000 requested, $3,000 awarded.

All told, the committee received 14 applications seeking a total of $92,345 in grant funding, but could only award $30,000 and chose to provide funds to 11 entities.