HELENA, Mont. – The Department of Commerce today announced 26 of Montana’s vibrant and charming towns will receive grants to help them attract visitors to their communities. In 2017, visitors from out of state added $3.4 billion to Montana’s economy.
Funds totaling $829,644 will be awarded through the Tourism Grant Program at the Department of Commerce, Office of Tourism and Business Development.
“In Montana, you’re never far from world-class recreation and visitor experiences,” said Jenny Pelej, interim division administrator for the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development at Commerce. “Tourism is an industry with a statewide impact, and these grants help communities both large and small maximize their ability to bring customers into Main Street businesses and support jobs.”
The Tourism Grant Program awards funds to projects that strengthen Montana’s economy through the development and enhancement of the state’s tourism and recreation industry. Eligible projects include arts, culture and heritage preservation; visitor facility upgrades and construction; and niche product development.
Full List of Grant Recipients:
- Big Sky Skating and Hockey Association, Inc. in Big Sky is awarded $65,000 to purchase and install refrigeration upgrades for its ice arena in the Town Center of Big Sky.
- The Big Sky Visitor Center in Big Sky is awarded $21,333 to purchase an executive restroom on a portable trailer that will supply three additional restrooms for guests.
- Billings-Yellowstone County Metropolitan Planning Organization in Billings is awarded $6,627 to add and brand more bike racks in the downtown business district.
- Our Montana in Billings is awarded $6,750 to develop an app that offers a guide to river access sites, history, points of interest, community parks and trails, equipment rentals, and bird-watching opportunities along the Yellowstone River Corridor.
- Art House Cinema and Pub in Billings is awarded $55,000 for the marquee and signage of newly renovated spaces of the theater.
- Bridger Ski Foundation in Bozeman is awarded $74,000 to install a snowmaking system at Sunset Hills that will guarantee reliable, consistent Nordic skiing and increase winter recreation opportunities.
- Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture in Bozeman is awarded $5,573 for a digital directory and information board in the lobby.
- Butte Local Development Organization in Butte is awarded $27,500 to develop videos to showcase tourist amenities and to purchase and install signage to direct visitors.
- Butte Center for the Performing Arts in Butte is awarded $13,700 to complete essential upgrades and to purchase new audio equipment for the theater.
- Mainstreet Uptown Butte, Inc. is awarded $25,000 to support professional marketing services and media productions in out-of-state markets for the Montana Folk Festival.
- Cut Bank Trails Inc. in Cut Bank is awarded $10,000 to provide interpretation and historical information along the Cut Bank Coulee Trail System.
- Powell County Museum and Arts Foundation in Deer Lodge is awarded $50,400 to assist in the repair of the Administration Building roof.
- BikeWalk Southwest Montana in Dillon is awarded $9,900 to assist in developing a bike/walk camp and advertising to distribution points along trans-American routes.
- Ennis Area Chamber of Commerce is awarded $1,717 to redesign and upgrade its website.
- Fort Peck Fine Arts Council, Inc. in Fort Peck is awarded $20,000 to upgrade the Fort Peck Summer Theatre sound system.
- The City of Glasgow is awarded $33,700 to construct and install wayfinding signage on the highway and in downtown areas.
- Great Falls Montana Tourism is awarded $8,000 to develop video assets that showcase unique experiences in the Great Falls area.
- C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls is awarded $10,000 to purchase and install exhibition components of Nancy Russell business space within the house/museum.
- Havre Trails, Inc. in Havre is awarded $5,020 to construct and install welcome signage at the trailhead and to develop a marketing brochure of trail and area highlights.
- The Conrad Mansion Museum in Kalispell is awarded $12,000 to preserve the integrity of the Mansion through the replacement of worn carpet and carpet runners.
- Lakeside-Somers Chamber of Commerce is awarded $2,500 to complete upgrades on an outdoor tourism information center and to install a wire/pulley system above the highway for banners/signage.
- The Heritage Museum in Libby is awarded $26,704 to complete the restoration of the "fire box" for the original boiler of the 1906 Shay #4 Steam Locomotive.
- Kootenai Cross Country Ski Club in Libby is awarded $43,144 to construct a multi-purpose visitor and event center.
- Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild in Lincoln is awarded $13,800 for purchase of wheelchair accessible picnic tables, to upgrade and develop new walkways that are wheelchair accessible, to create flora/fauna information panels, and to purchase and install bike racks at the entrances.
- The Livingston Depot Foundation, Inc. in Livingston is awarded $35,000 to replace the air conditioning cooling tower and three aging boiler units.
- The Missoula Downtown Foundation is awarded $15,810 to complete a Heritage Tourism Interpretive Plan for Downtown Missoula, including exhibit development, outreach and education.
- Montana Natural History Center in Missoula is awarded $10,500 to improve interpretive exhibits at the History Center and at the Ravalli County Museum.
- Miracle of America Museum in Polson is awarded $10,288 to replace clapboard siding on the 106-year-old Green Mountain School House and to enhance the playground.
- Red Lodge Area Chamber of Commerce/Convention Visitors Bureau is awarded $34,934 to construct and install planned wayfinding signs in the downtown area.
- Seeley Lake Community Foundation is awarded $11,356 to replace the southern “Welcome to Seeley Lake” sign.
- Stevensville Main Street Association is awarded $4,000 to develop a year-long digital marketing campaign targeting niche markets of history/cultural travelers.
- Mineral County is awarded $64,388 to replace the Superior rodeo bleachers and for advertising the improved bleacher seating to the northwestern states region.
- City of Thompson Falls is awarded $46,000 for development of Ainsworth Community Park, including construction of a pavilion and amphitheater.
- Yellowstone Historic Center in West Yellowstone is awarded $30,000 for authentic replacement of windows in the historic 1925 Union Pacific Dining Lodge.
- The City of Whitefish and Whitefish Legacy Partners is awarded $20,000 to add to the wayfinding network throughout the developed Whitefish Trail bike path system.
Learn more at the Tourism Grant Program website.