DURANGO, Colo. – As part of its on-going mission to enhance activity and “Business in the BID,” the Durango Business Improvement District (BID) has revised its special event marketing grant program to ensure its viability through 2011. The program provides nominal grants to various local special events to help enhance their marketing efforts and ultimately increase event attendance (preferably visitors from new markets).
For 2011, the BID board of directors has approved a budget of $40,000 for grants ($20,000 from BID mill levy funds and $20,000 from the Durango Area Tourism Office (DATO) from the lodgers tax). BID’s special events grant committee, including representatives from both BID and DATO, review event grant applications and may award grants ranging from $500 to $5,000.
“To make the process more efficient, for the first time the BID will utilize a complete on-line application process,” said Bob Kunkel, BID executive director and the City of Durango’s Downtown business development manager. “To be considered, event organizers must submit their applications a minimum of 60 days prior to the event or program, and we’ve established a very specific set of guidelines for grant consideration. Organizers are asked to review all the criteria carefully.”
According to Kunkel, while the grant committee reserves the right to be flexible, a preference may be given to new events or programs that show great promise, or those existing events that have growth potential. The committee will also gauge the applicant’s potential to generate new or incremental retail business and those that have the greatest positive economic impact, attract a value-added attendee (i.e. families who may return to Durango on vacation) or further enhance a positive community image. Preference likely will also be given to those events scheduled during the community’s slower economic periods or “shoulder seasons” in Spring and Fall.
“This particular grant funding is separate from monies used to support the BID’s three established, seasonal ‘umbrella’ marketing programs: Spring it On!, Fall for Downtown Durango, and HOLiDAZZLE,” said Kunkel. “These programs are the ‘rising tide floats all boats’ efforts where a goal is to advertise all events during a specified time period and stimulate economic activity across the board. The budget for advertising these programs in 2011 is an additional $24,000.”
The BID’s general policy is to award grant funds following an event, reimbursing marketing expenses that meet the criteria. With new events, however, the BID may opt to offer the grant money up-front to help ensure a successful launch, and the BID staff will work more closely with the event organizers to maximize their marketing.
The 2011 BID Special Event Grant Program is designed to demonstrate the BID’s commitment to a sound investment of the mill levy funds and further enhance the social and economic vitality in Historic Downtown Durango. All information for grant submission is available on the BID web site, www.downtowndurango.org, or call 970.375.5067 for further information.