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Tourism Board awards grants

by Edie Flanagin

WALSENBURG- The Tourism Board met Friday, March 5 at the county courthouse with a full agenda.  All members were present.  The most important action of the meeting was awarding grant money for 2010.  The La Veta Chamber received the highest dollar amount, $4,233.73.  The Huerfano Chamber was a close second with a total of $4,130.93.  The Celtic Festival received $3,514.09.  The remaining awards went to: All Walsenburg Class Reunion, $1887.89, La Veta School of the Arts, $1766.39, Francisco Center for the Performing Arts, $1525.26, and SPACe gallery, $941.60.  Two applicants were disqualified.  The total amount given for the matching grants was $17,999.89.  The Board will be sending out the checks with an award letter later this month.

    In other business, Nancy Lave of the Huerfano County Chamber of Commerce was present to ask for financial assistance providing extra staff hours at the Visitor Center in Walsenburg.  The Chamber provides a staff member there weekdays from 9-1. The 2009 Tourism Board Budget provided funding for additional hours on M and F afternoons and on weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The budget also provided a Saturday staff person from Labor Day through December 31.  Lave reported the staff person had continued to work Saturdays during January and February.  The board agreed to pay for the days she worked, however she was told not to show up on Saturdays until the board had time to look at the numbers of visitors actually stopping by when she is on duty.  The Tourism Board will consider funding a similar arrangement for 2010.

    There will be an agritourism workshop on April 14 at the Community Center sponsored by the CSU extension office. John Galusha gave a report on the upcoming Earth Week “special” at the county transfer station.  Half price fees will be offered from April 20 – 24th.  The final order of business was setting a date for the Tourism Board Retreat.  The retreat will be held at Debra Malone’s home on April 24.  The purpose of the retreat is to form a mission statement and review goals.