Tourism is one of the largest industries and economic drivers in Tennessee. This grant was developed to provide Tourism infrastructure resources to enhance and improve the Tourism Economic Impact in Tennessee counties.
Grant at a glance:
- Up to $50,000 grant, with a match requirement
- No work will be reimbursed outside of the grantee contract period
- Grantee must be city or county government
October 2016: Application Available at TN.gov/TourismGrant
November 9, 2016: 2 p.m., CST – Register here
November 14, 2016: 1 p.m., CST –Register here
November 15, 2016: Applications questions due to ECD.TourismGrant@tn.gov
November 30, 2016: Applications due at 4 p.m., CST
December 1, 2016 - January 2017: Application review period
January 2017: Announcements
Contract Period: Associated project costs must be incurred and projects completed within the contract period after all final approvals.
Grant Review Board Members: TNECD, TDTD, TDA, TDEC, TVA, Corps of Engineers
ECD Tourism Grant Program Manager: Jody Sliger, ECD.TourismGrant@tn.gov, (615) 393-4393
Q: How many grants will be awarded?
A: At least 20 grants will be awarded. There may be more depending on how many apply for the full amount of funding.
Q: What is the source of the funding?
A: These are state funds.
Q: Will you accept more than one application from a county?
A: No. The community must work together to determine which project would have the most impact and be bested suited for the grant funding. If more than one application is submitted, they will all be returned for the community to select the one to be scored.
Q: If a county received a grant in Round 1, could a city within the county apply in this round?
A: Yes, grantees awarded in Round 1 will not be eligible to apply. However, individual Cities and Counties NOT receiving awards in Round 1 will be eligible, even if another entity within the county DID receive a grant.
Q: Can you apply for more than one project?
A: Yes. As long as you do not request more than $50,000, you can propose multiple projects in multiple parts of the county. To get the best score, they should be related and “tell a good story.”
Q: Can you give us examples of what you have funded in the past?
A: This is the second round of this grant. A few examples of projects funded in Round 1 include: stage and boat ramp improvements, tourism asset plans, electrical and sound system upgrades for tourism venues, and restroom facilities.
Q: What if we downloaded the application before changes were made?
A: You can download the new version here. We made some clarifications in the first week that the application was available. There were no significant changes, but you may want to check and see if you have the most current version
Q: Can funds be used to purchase land?
Q: This grant is not for construction. What do you consider to be construction?
A: This funding is intended to further develop tourism assets in your community. If you already have a festival and need to make improvements to a stage or build a gazebo, that would be eligible. If you have an historic building that needs repairs or accessibility improvements, that would be eligible. If you need to add bathrooms to a venue so that it could be used more frequently, that would be eligible. Building a new visitor center or a completely new structure would likely not be eligible.
Q: Do ADA requirements apply?
A: That is up to the community to determine for their individual projects. It is a good idea to ensure that all projects are accessible to people with disabilities.
Q: Can we make improvements to a city- or county-owned golf course, ball field or tennis courts?
A: Technically that is eligible, but the applicant is responsible for showing how it would increase tourism revenues in the community, such as hosting tournaments that bring in tourists.
Q: Are lighting and sound equipment eligible?
A: Yes. Again, show how it would increase tourism revenues in your community.
Q: Can we do a plan that only covers part of the county or a specific destination.
A: Yes. You would justify in your application why that destination or location was selected for the plan.
Q: Is a plan required?
A: No. Many communities have good plans or know what their best tourism assets are and what they need.
Q: Can I use a consultant to develop a plan for my community?
A: Yes. Up to $20,000 of grant funding can be used for plan development, as long as the consultant meets the set grant criteria.
Q: Can we have private sector partners?
Q: Can the funds be used in connection with other grants?
A: It depends. Other grants cannot be used as the matching funds, but if the community puts in the required match, then other grants funds can be used to complete a bigger, more impactful project.
Q: Are administration expenses eligible?
A: Yes, up to (5%) five percent may be used for administration fees.
Q: Are engineering expenses and other soft costs an eligible expense?
A: No. This can be a part of the match, but ECD will not pay for engineering.
Q: Are permits an eligible expense?
A: Yes. If a state or federal permit is required, then the grant funds can pay for it.
Q: Can I mail in my application?
A: No. It must be submitted via email to ECD.TourismGrant@tn.gov.
Q: Do I need to number the answers to align with the question numbers?
A: Yes, all answers must be numbered to correspond with the question.
Q: Is an Environmental Review required?
Q: Do Davis-Bacon Wage Rates apply?
Q: Do Tennessee Prevailing Wage Rates apply?
Q: Do projects require bidding process?
A: Yes. State and/or local procurement rules must be followed. This will be checked at the monitoring visit.