News

Destination Hilliard Announces Tourism Attraction Grant Program

Posted February 22, 2022 in Administration by David Ball

Apply for the TAG Grant

Destination Hilliard, the city’s tourism destination marketing organization, is announcing its first-ever Tourist Attraction Grant (TAG) program to help create new events, programs, and tourist attractions that bring more visitors to the community.

The program will take $50,000 in existing hotel/motel tax money and reinvest it in local businesses, special events, non-profit organizations, and other entities that bring visitors to Hilliard. Grant applications will be accepted through midnight April 3.

“Part of the future priorities of Destination Hilliard will be to refocus some of the funding that previously has been spent on external marketing and on building additional events and tourist draws that bring people into our community to spend their travel, leisure, and entertainment dollars,” said David Ball, Destination Hilliard’s marketing coordinator. “These grants are designed to plant the seeds that will grow into exciting things in the years to come, serving as economic drivers for our community’s growing tourism economy.”

The grants are designed to help create new activities in Hilliard, as well as expand on existing draws.

“Perhaps these grants could be used by business owners in Downtown Hilliard to create a winter festival to draw people to the city during a time that is traditionally less business from a tourism perspective,” Ball said. “Maybe it could help create an exciting new event at the fairgrounds or at Municipal Park. Perhaps someone has a vision for a cool new year-round tourist attraction, a celebration of culture and diversity, or an educational activity that brings visitors to Hilliard who stay in our hotels, dine in our restaurants, and shop in our retail stores.”

Details of the program can be found below.

OVERVIEW

Destination Hilliard’s priority is to encourage economic vibrancy throughout the City of Hilliard through the development and promotion of special events, attractions, culture, history, recreation, parks, dining, retail, meeting and event space use, and overnight accommodations.

In 2022, Destination Hilliard is launching a grant program designed to provide seed money to develop new initiatives that will bring visitors into our community to spend money in our local economy, to stay overnight in hotels within Hilliard City limits, to expand awareness of this community as a visitor destination, and to encourage Hilliard residents to take advantage of the tourism-industry amenities this community has to offer.

The Tourist Attraction Grant (TAG) program will dedicate $50,000 in hotel/motel bed tax funding to help pay for new community events, attractions, and initiatives in 2022. Individual grants will be limited to $10,000 and will be based on the criteria outlined below.

ELIGIBILITY

Destination Hilliard Board of Directors (DH) will provide seed money grants for new programs that will be launched between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023. To be eligible, applicants must be:

  • Either an existing for-profit business (or businesses) within the City of Hilliard OR registered non-profit (501C.3) agency(ies) based within the City of Hilliard. Priority consideration will be given to small businesses and entities generally considered to be part of the tourism industry (e.g., retail, restaurants, tourist attractions, hotels, special events, etc.)

OR

  • Either new special events within the City of Hilliard designed to attract visitors to the community OR existing special events adding significant elements designed to attract new visitors to the community.

Applicants also must be current on all municipal income tax obligations and property tax obligations, and without any outstanding City Code violations.

Selection of grant recipients will be made without regard to race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, disability, familial status, marital status, or military status.

The grant recipient shall not be an entity owned or controlled by a Destination Hilliard employee, Board of Director member, or a family member thereof; a City of Hilliard employee; a City of Hilliard elected official; or an immediate family member of a City of Hilliard employee or elected official.

Business owners applying for grants will be limited to one grant per calendar year, regardless of the number of different businesses or programs those individuals may be involved in (i.e., one business and one restaurant.)

Non-profit organizations and collective groups of businesses working together to apply for grants that benefit a common cause are limited to receiving two grants per calendar year.

GRANT AMOUNT

Grants may cover up to 50% of the total eligible project costs, not to exceed $10,000. Grants will be allocated by the Destination Hilliard Board of Directors based on merit and alignment with criteria identified under “Eligible Projects,” until funding is depleted.

TAX CONSEQUENCES

Neither the City of Hilliard nor Destination Hilliard provide tax advice and have no responsibility for any tax liability or other tax-related consequence of an applicant’s acceptance of grant funds.

ELIGIBLE PROJECTS

Destination Hilliard is open to creative ideas from our community for the kinds of programs, activities and initiatives that would be eligible for this seed money. Priority will be given to activities that include (but are not limited to):

  • creative and exciting new ideas that have the potential to produce ongoing, recurring, or annual community events
  • production of overnight hotel stays
  • production of new employment opportunities
  • generation of revenue for businesses within the city of Hilliard
  • generation of positive regional media attention for the community
  • development of permanent or temporary tourist attractions
  • development or permanent or temporary public art
  • celebrations of history and culture
  • celebrations of diversity
  • educational programs designed to attract visitors to Hilliard
  • alignment with the general philosophies outlined in this document
  • programs that aid in the distribution of grants to multiple geographic areas and interests in Hilliard

Grant applications from collaborations of businesses/groups will receive preference over applications from individual applicants.

Funds must be used to cover new expenses incurred (e.g., event logistics, promotion/marketing, security, equipment, etc.) Existing expenses, expenses for elements already included in existing events, and in-kind expenses/contributions may not be covered by TAG grants.

FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

The grant recipient understands that Destination Hilliard will disperse the agreed-upon funds within 60 days of selection, but that a follow-up report with all required documentation is required by either 90 days after completion of the project/event or by March 31, 2022, whichever comes last.

The recipient agrees that failure to fulfill the agreed-upon program/event/project by the date(s) indicated in the application and to provide Destination Hilliard with the required follow-up report will result in an expectation of repayment of the grant.

The grant recipient agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Destination Hilliard and the City of Hilliard from any and all claims, losses, damages, suits, court costs and other fees.

PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATION

The grant recipient agrees to allow Destination Hilliard and the City of Hilliard the right to use pictures, videos, or descriptions of the work for any and all promotional purposes in perpetuity.

GRANT PROCESS

Step 1 – Grant Application – The applicant must submit the application before 11:59 p.m. April 3, 2022.

Step 2 – Destination Hilliard Board of Directors will identify grant recipients.

Step 3 – Grant recipients will be notified by April 30, 2022.

Step 4 – Disbursement will occur within 60 days of notification of receipt of grant.

Step 5 – Grant recipients must provide Destination Hilliard a report within either 90 days of the completion of the program/event OR by April 31, 2022, whichever comes last. This report must detail expenditures (with third-party receipts) and confirm, as possible, benefits resulting from the grant (e.g., attendance, financial impact, hotel night stays, etc.) The grant recipient also must submit a completed W-9 form or non-profit agency tax form.