The Town of Coupeville is in the process of deciding which nonprofits will receive this year’s 2 percent Lodging Tax Revenue grant awards.
The Town Council received seven applications from the following: Friend’s of Ebey’s, Penn Cove Water Festival, Sound Water Stewards, Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association, Island County Museum, Coupeville Chamber of Commerce and The Pacific NorthWest Arts School.
This year, applicants requested a total of $35,000.
The Pacific Northwest Arts School requested $2,500 to fund its marketing program, Coupeville Chamber of Commerce requested $12,000 for the Coupeville Visitor Information Center, Island County Museum requested $5,000 to support operations, Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association requested $5,000 to aid the 2019 Musselfest marketing, Sound Water Stewards applied for $3,000 for Sound Water Steward Wharf improvements, Penn Cove Water Festival requested $3,000 for marketing and Friend’s of Ebey’s requested $5,000 for the Jacob and Sarah Ebey House Visitor Center and to update a trail map.
Lynda Eccles, executive director for the Coupeville chamber, said she’s grateful for the 2 percent programs that help fund the visitors center.
“They give organizations a chance to do events and bring people into Coupeville,” she said.
“We are the marketing arm for the Town of Coupeville.”
During this week’s meeting, the council and Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes discussed the score sheets the council uses to grade the applicants, which will be consolidated onto a spreadsheet for comparison.
“Then we will come back and make the final decision at the next meeting,” Hughes said.
The next Town Council meeting will be Oct. 23.
This year, the town has $25,000 available to award but may award more or less than this amount. In 2017 and 2018, the town awarded roughly $20,000 each year.
The score sheets grade applicants on several categories, including, “partnership,” “local resources,” “tourism,” “visitor experience,” “economic impact” and “demographic.”
The highest weighted categories are “tourism,” “economic impact” and “demographic,” worth 20 points each, and the remaining categories are weighted at 10 points each.
The “tourism” category looks for projects that support visitation, particularly during the shoulder season of October through May.
“Economic impact” rewards applicants with projects that generate a direct economic benefit to Coupeville such as lodging, dining and retail impacts.
The “demographic” scoring looks for projects designed to attract off-island visitors and encourage overnight stays in Coupeville.
The allocation process was changed several times, once in 2017, and more recently in August, when the council voted to only allow proposals from nonprofit organizations and to give preference to activities that occur inside town limits.
The applicants were not asked by the council to attend the next meeting, but may choose to be there.
Window for submitting applications closed on the last business day in September. The full list of the applicants and their projects is available on the town’s website, townof coupeville.org