Visitor center taking applications for grants

The Jackson County Visitor Center is accepting grant applications from local nonprofit or not-for-profit organizations and entities to help fund projects to increase tourism to the area.

Up to $20,000 is available through the spring developmental grant cycle and $100,000 has been allocated for bigger projects that make more of an impact, said Arann Banks, executive director of the visitor center.

Applications are available online at The grants require 1:1 matching funds from the applicants.

Eligible projects may include cultural, historical or scenic site development, development of recreational or entertainment attractions or destinations, feasibility studies, master plans, site planning and architectural plans, capital projects such as land acquisition, building construction or renovation and utility infrastructure.

The Jackson County Visitor Center grant committee will evaluate applications based on quality and sustainability of projects, appeal and benefit to those living outside of the county and ability to increase the number of out-of-town visitors.

Projects that increase overnight stays at hotels and benefit the local economy will be given higher consideration.

The deadline to submit an application for the spring grant cycle is March 31, and both grants will be awarded in May. Another $20,000 in developmental grants will be distributed in the fall.

“This is the third year now we’ve given out developmental grants twice a year,” Banks said.

Projects must be in Jackson County and completed within one year after the grant is awarded.

The grants are funded by innkeepers tax which is paid by visitors to the area who rent rooms at local hotels.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative effect on hotel stays since spring 2020, Banks said it won’t change the grant program this year.

“It’s only about a third down from what it was pre-pandemic,” she said.

Developmental grants have been used to purchase and install a Sway Fun handicapped-accessible glider at Gaiser Park in Seymour, to make improvements at Brownstown Park and to support a mural project and outdoor movie attraction at Burkhart Plaza in downtown Seymour. Funds also have been used by Seymour Parks and Recreation and Brownstown/Ewing Main Street.

This marks the second year for the Community Impact Grant. In 2019, the visitor center awarded $100,000 to the Seymour Parks and Recreation Department.

The money was to be used to fund new ball diamonds at Freeman Field Athletic Complex, create pickleball courts and complete the third and final phase of the skatepark.

But after some disagreement on how the grant was written and how the funds should be allocated, the Seymour Board of Public Works and Safety voted in September to return the entire grant at the recommendation of Mayor Matt Nicholson.

Using money from a capital improvement bond, the parks department has completed the skatepark and the other two projects should be finished this spring.

Banks is hoping to move past the controversial decision and see the Impact Grant put to good use this year.

The grants are a way for the visitor center to do more than just market the county, Banks said.

“I’d like to be able to do more grants,” she said. “I want the visitor center to be a good resource for the community and be a better tool for everybody.”

On the Web

Applications for Jackson County Visitor Center grants are available online at

Developmental grants are for up to $20,000 and the Community Impact Grant is $100,000.

The grants require 1:1 matching funds from the applicants.

The deadline to submit an application for the spring grant cycle is March 31, and both grants will be awarded in May.

For information, call 812-524-1914 or visit the visitor center at 100 N. Broadway St., Seymour.