The Spencer County Visitors Bureau Inc. will distribute grants to six local businesses through the new tourism enhancement grant.
The 2022 Tourism Enhancement Grant was established to help strengthen Spencer County tourism and increase its economic impact in 2022-2023. The grant will assist tourism-related entities in funding special projects, events, activities, marketing, and other initiatives that encourage visitation throughout Spencer County.
A total of $37,996 was awarded for the following initiatives:
- Beloved Farms, a new small business that opened in 2020, supports over 100 other small farms and businesses plus educational programming. With various school groups, corporate outings, and private parties, Beloved recognized the need for an outdoor shelter to enhance current programming and offer additional events and activities. A new shelter will be built this summer.
- Ohio River Scenic Railway (ORSR) began offering excursion train rides in Spencer County in 2021. Without a designated train depot or station in Spencer County, the organization is utilizing a local business for arrivals/departures. In order to help guests find the location, ORSR requested funds to design and install billboard-like advertising near the intersection of Highways 231 and 162, between Lincoln City and Santa Claus.
- In order to add more cabins at Lincoln Pines Lakefront Resort, the property needs to expand its infrastructure. The resort requested partial funding to help achieve the needed infrastructure to increase overnight visits to Spencer County.
- St. Meinrad Rocks is a two-day music fundraising event in September. Festival organizers requested funds to book “Off the Road,” which consists of two members of the Ted Nugent Band who have played with many national and international groups. Grant dollars will help secure the group and provide additional marketing efforts to promote the weekend festival.
- Lincoln Pioneer Village & Museum requested grant funds to aid in enhancing its website and adding professional photography and video assets to promote the attraction. Improving its website will allow the attraction to promote its offerings, events, and other local amenities such as lodging and restaurants.
- The Santa Claus Park & Recreation Department plans to renovate its three ball diamond infields at Yellig Park with synthetic turf. With partial funding awarded, this project will help eliminate rainouts and allow the park to host 10 to 15 tournaments each year.
“It’s been incredible to hear of all the ideas and projects that these businesses have in order to enhance the experience and drive visitors to Spencer County!” says Ashley Blankenbaker, president of the Spencer County Visitors Bureau board of directors. “We are so excited to offer this grant and provide targeted support to initiatives that accelerate local tourism.”
Approximately $12,000 remains in the tourism enhancement grant fund. For complete details and a submission form, interested entities can visit SantaClausInd.org/tourism-partners and IndianasAbeLincoln.org/tourism-partners. Contact the Spencer County Visitors Bureau at (812) 937-4199 with any questions or to brainstorm ideas.
The Spencer County Convention Recreation and Visitors Commission members are appointed by the Spencer County Commissioners, Spencer County Council, and the county’s largest municipality. The same members make up the board for the Spencer County Visitors Bureau Inc.
2022 board members are Ashley Blankenbaker (president) of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Faye Hedinger (vice president) of Monkey Hollow Winery and Distillery, Cheyenne Knox (secretary) of Lincoln State Park, Natalie Koch (treasurer) of Santa Claus Museum & Village, Nancy Kaiser of Lincoln Pioneer Village & Museum, Kayla Morris of Pepper’s Ridge Winery, and Karin Gries of Lincoln Pines Lakefront Resort.
The Spencer County Visitors Bureau encourages guests to stay overnight and provides a variety of resources about local attractions, shops, and restaurants.