In a demonstration of the old adege, the early bird gets the worm, 10 groups applied for tourism funding in presentations to Blaine Tourism Advisory Council (BTAC) members at an early morning meeting last Thursday.
Fund requests ranged from $600 to $50,000, said, Blaine community development director Debbie Harger. All but one of the applications has asked for grant money before; these projects include Drayton Harbor Days and the Old Fashioned Fourth of July for 2011.
At $50,000, the most expensive request was for the Semiahmoo Lighthouse Project, which involves building a replica of the Semiahmoo lighthouse on the land of the Lighthouse Point Water Reclamation Facility on Marine Drive. Harger said the project is the first tourism-funding request that involves construction.
Brad O’Neill, president of the Semiahmoo Lighthouse Resurrection Society presented the proposed lighthouse.
The original lighthouse was built in 1905 and sat off the shore of Blaine near Semiahmoo Spit. A small navigation tower later replaced the lighthouse.
Harger said she thinks it has a good chance of at least being recommended to city manager Gary Tomsic.
Applicants asked for a total of $176,490 Harger said. BTAC will review the applications and forward its recommendations to Tomsic who will, in turn, ask for approval from the Blaine city council, Harger explained.
The city has about $95,000 in tourism funds to distribute this year, Harger said. The money to fund any tourism projects comes from a special Blaine tax on hotels and motels within the city, she said.
About $85,000 was awarded last year to tourism projects. The most expensive 2010 event was the Blaine Jazz Festival, which received a $24,000 grant. More than $12,000 in grant money went to the Old Fashioned Fourth of July, which attracted about 10,000 people, Harger said.