Town completes first competitive 2 percent grant process

Coupeville Town Council awarded its first batch of tourism dollar grants under its new competitive application process.

Eight grants, funded by the town’s hotel-motel 2 percent dollars, were awarded. Grants totaled about $29,000.

Big awardees this year were the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce, which received $5,550, and Friends of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, which received $5,000.

Mayor Molly Hughes was not at the meeting Tuesday, but in her staff report, she recommended the council nearly double the chamber’s request to $10,000.

“Personally, I think we should support the operations of our chamber at a higher level,” Hughes wrote.

While the council said they understand Hughes’ sentiments, they weren’t sold on the suggestion.

“I think we should stick with what the applicant asked for,” said Councilwoman Dianne Binder.

Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association received three grants totalling about $4,700 for Musselfest marketing and operations and for its Red Ticket promotion.

The council was hesitant to fund the grant request for Red Ticket.

“It’s a good thing, but I’m just not sure it’s a tourist thing,” said Councilwoman Jackie Henderson.

The historic association had requested $1,600 for the event and the council opted to fund half the request.

Island County Historical Museum received $3,500 as a “tourism-related facility,” though some council members questioned that description.

Binder said there’s a difference between what brings people to town versus what they can do when they get here.

Binder said she’d like to see the museum use funds to promote the museum to people off island.

Other grant awards included $2,500 to the Pacific Northwest Art School for marketing and $3,000 to the Penn Cove Water Festival for marketing and operations.

Applicants filled out the town’s application process and were rated based on a point system matching the town’s established criteria.

Criteria include partnership, tourism, visitor experience, economic impact and demographics.

Since this was the first time around with the new process, the council found there are still some kinks to work out.

“This first time especially, there’s a lot of questions that come up to do differently,” Henderson said.

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