Saturday, July 13, 2024

Chelan County awards $481,000 in Lodging Tax Grants for tourism projects


CHELAN COUNTY - The Chelan County Commissioners have awarded $481,000 in lodging tax grants to eight local agencies for capital projects aimed at boosting overnight tourist visits. The funds, generated by taxes on stays at motels, hotels, and short-term rentals, will support a range of initiatives, from the acquisition of snow grooming equipment to the development of new trailheads and welcome center facilities.

The largest grants were awarded to the Lake Chelan Nordic Club and the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club, each receiving $110,000 and $100,000 respectively for snow grooming equipment. Other recipients include the Wenatchee Valley TREAD, which was granted $92,000 for a trails project, and the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, which received $84,000 for the No. 2 Canyon recreation area.

Commissioner Tiffany Gering, who chairs the Chelan County Lodging Tax Committee (LTAC), stated, "Applications this year included a number of larger capital projects that aligned with our strategic plan, helping contribute to tourism growth in the future." The LTAC, responsible for reviewing grant applications and making recommendations to the board, had initially budgeted $420,000 for capital awards but was only able to allocate $330,000. To fund the 2025 grant awards, commissioners agreed to use $151,000 from lodging tax reserves.

Due to a decrease in lodging tax funds generated in unincorporated areas of Chelan County over the past two years, the LTAC has decided to move capital grants to a bi-annual cycle. The next call for applications will be on Feb. 1, 2026. However, applications for events and marketing grants will continue to be accepted annually, with this year's call for applications beginning Sept. 1 and due on Oct. 15.

The Chelan County Economic Services department will conduct a study to determine the overall impacts of tourism on the local economy and investigate the reasons behind the decrease in tax dollars in unincorporated areas. The department is expected to begin its search for a consultant on the project later this year.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here