Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
March 2004
Tourism Economic Diversification Grants Announced
Nearly $200,000 in federal Community Based Economic Development (CDBG) grants have been awarded to a dozen units of government in Wisconsin in the form of Tourism Economic Diversification Planning Grants. The Bureau of Community Finance coordinated Governor Doyle's initiative to assist communities whose livelihoods are greatly affected by the tourism industry. Spurred by the recent mild winters, the competitive grant program aims at helping communities develop alternatives to traditional winter tourism activities that are dependent on the weather.

"The planning grant funds will help local communities who greatly depend on winter tourism as a segment their economy to explore other tourism alternatives," Community Finance Grants Specialist Dawn Zanto said. "This is especially true for those communities that have been effected by the lack of snow over the past several years."

While each planning grant award will go to a "lead" municipality, great emphasis was given to communities, counties, and/or regions that partnered with one another to address similar concerns.

Funding descriptions are as follows:

Ashland County $ 8,625
Includes: Barron County, Bayfield County, Burnett County, Douglas County, Iron County, Polk County, Rusk County, Sawyer County, Taylor County, Washburn County, Price County and Chippewa County.

Ashland County will use the funds to prepare a plan to attract motor visitors to the area for outdoor and indoor recreation. It will also examine existing cultural, educational and historical elements that can be used to establish the area as a complete four-season destination.

Bayfield County $20,000
Includes: Ashland County, Sawyer County

Bayfield County will partner with Ashland and Sawyer counties to assist in research and to conduct focus groups to evaluate possible diversification options.

Columbia County $20,000
Includes: City of Portage, City of Columbus, City of Lodi, Village of Arlington, Village of Cambria, Village of Doylestown, Village of Fall River, Village of Rio, Village of Friesland, Village of Pardeeville, Village of Poynette, Village of Randolph and the Village of Wyocena.

Columbia County will use the funds to create a strategic marketing plan that will identify the demographics of its current visitors and identify ways to attract more tourists to the region.

Town of Grand Chute $18,000
Includes: City of Appleton, the City of Neenah and the Fox Cities (14 municipalities).

The Town of Grand Chute will use the funds to examine how to attract more visitors to the area.

Juneau County $20,000
Includes: Adams County, portions of Monroe, Sauk, Marquette and Vernon Counties.

Juneau County will use the funds to prepare a plan that will assess the nature and effectiveness of current marketing efforts.

Marinette County $10,000
Includes: City of Marinette.

The County and City of Marinette will use the funds to prepare a plan to attract people to the harbor area, create a new county-owned all-terrain vehicle campground at McClintock Park, and design a river trail at Peshtigo Harbor Wildlife Area.

City of Menomonie $20,000
Includes: Dunn County.

The City of Menomonie will use the funds to identify key cultural and natural assets.

City of St. Croix Falls $20,000
Includes: Polk, St. Croix and Pierce Counties.

The City of St. Croix will use the funds to prepare a plan to attract more visitors to Polk, St. Croix and Pierce counties, specifically the lower St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The plan will also identify scenic byways, roads and additional historic sites.

City of Tomahawk $15,000
Includes: Town of Bradley, Town of Harrison, Town of King, Town of Little Rice, Town of Nokomis, Town of Tomahawk, Tomahawk Downtown Business Council, Tomahawk Development Corporation and the Tomahawk Chamber of Commerce.

The City of Tomahawk will use the funds to identify new markets and emerging tourist trends and assess the area’s tourism assets.

Washburn County $20,000
Includes: City of Spooner, City of Shell Lake, Village of Birchwood and the Village of Minong.

Washburn County will use the funds to prepare a plan to attract tourists to the area during the winter season.

Wood County $20,000
Includes: The City of Marshfield and the City of Wisconsin Rapids.

Wood County will use the funds to prepare a plan for future marketing efforts to encourage repeat visitors and attract new tourists. The plan will include information about how other communities have coped with the economic downturn and how they have used tourism diversification as a means of recovery.

For more information on Wisconsin's tourism industry, visit http://agency.travelwisconsin.com/.

--Barbro McGinn

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Current Newsletter

Newsletter Archive

Commerce Home

Wisconsin Department of Commerce