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We want tourists: Group helps Kingman events get off the ground


Kingman South’s Bradley Ogden is too late with the tag of a McDowell Mountain runner during the Arizona State Little League Tournament (minor division) in July at Southside Park. The event was put on with the help of financial assistance provided by the Tourism Development Commission.

Applications for seed money now being accepted

KINGMAN - There's financial help to be had for people and organizations looking to put on events that'll bring people from outside the area into Kingman for more than a day.

The Kingman Tourism Development Commission is taking applications for seed money for proposed activities and events aimed at getting people to stay overnight in Kingmanhotels. In its many forms under various names, the TDC has provided this service on an annual basis for decades.

"We look for events that put heads in beds," said TDC vice-chair Tom Spear. "We provide seed money so that the event may become self-sufficient (in the future)."

The commission is funded by Kingman's 4-percent bed tax. Half of that revenue is used for programs like this and promoting tourism while the other half is used for Kingman tourism infrastructure needs, Spear explained.

Through the years, the commission has provided money for the Kingman Air and Auto Show, the Kingman Street Drags, various Little League and softball tournaments and many other activities.

The TDC awarded Kingman Little League North $5,000 in 2012 to help put on the Arizona State Little League Tournament (minor division) at Southside Park, and in 2007 it awarded roughly the same amount to Kingman Little League South when it hosted the major division version of the same tournament.

Oscar Lopez, the president of Kingman Little League South, said the money help offset some of the costs of hosting the tournament.

"It was very beneficial," said Lopez, who wasn't the president at the time but was on the board.

The organization used less than half of the money it was granted and ended up returning the funds to the commission. It was an act of good faith that organizers believed would enhance their chances of receiving funding should they need help putting on a tournament in the future.

"We didn't want to take the money and run with it," he said. "Let's give everybody an opportunity" was the mindset used.

Getting financial assistance from the commission is harder than it looks. Proposals need to be organized and outline a plan of how objectives will be achieved, said commission chair Krystal Burge.

Applications must provide background, show who is involved, define a financial structure and include an outline for advertising plans, Burge said. They should also include the results organizers expect to achieve by putting on the event and how exactly they plan on achieving them.

"But it doesn't stop when we hand over the check," Burge said.

Event organizers must show how each penny was spent once the event concludes.

"This is public money we're dealing with," Burge said. It must be used on events that provide Kingman with the best opportunities.

State Little League tournaments are a good example of desired events because they last for multiple days and bring a lot of families to the area.

Consider that one of these Little League tournaments brings in 14 teams from around the state, Lopez said. Those 14 teams each have roughly 13 players, he added. So if eight to 10 families per team make the trip, that means anywhere from 110-140 families converge on Kingman for these tournaments.

But that doesn't mean that tournaments are the only events TDC will help with.

"Each application is evaluated when we get it," Spear said. Organizers with positive track records are nice, "but we're not above taking a risk on somebody new."

The commission will receive all the applications the first Thursday in February. Then, on the first Thursday of March, the majority of applicants will present their proposals in person to the commission. After presentations have been made, the commission will make its recommendations to City Council, which has the final say.

This funding program is only a small portion of what TDC does in the community, Burge said. It continually promotes tourism through Kingman Tourism Director Joshua Noble, and it works to gather money for brick-and-mortar projects and provide matching grants for projects that improve the atmosphere downtown, she said. Current projects include a slate of improvements for the Powerhouse Visitors Center and a pedestrian crossing that connects Locomotive Park to the Powerhouse.

"It is all about a vision and deciding how we can use the money available," Burge said.


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