By Brianna Pitts
WARSAW — The Kosciusko County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission has tabled a $232,835 grant request from Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts.
It made that decision at its meeting on Wednesday, May 10.
Wagon Wheel Executive Director Lakesha Green came before the commission asking for the money for phase two of the White Hill project, which involves remodels to the building that houses cast members for Wagon Wheel shows.
That includes adding new windows and updated plumbing.
Housing cast members at White Hill house saves the Wagon Wheel approximately $4,500 per person.
“Every decision that’s made right now is going to count 10 years from now,” Green added regarding the project.
Commission members responded that although they would like to help in some capacity, they would need to see an itemized list of expenses before moving forward, thus tabling the request until their next meeting on Wednesday, July 12.
Kevin Harris with the Kosciusko County Fair Association came before the commission asking for $2,500 to be directed towards prize money for several barbecue competitions. He used the evidence that these competitions bring in people that stay in the county’s hotels, shop in the county’s stores and eat at the county’s restaurants.
The commission denied the grant for prize money; however, members countered with ideas for pursuing more ways to market and outreach to the community for more involvement and granted $500 for advertising.
The Syracuse-Wawasee Rotary Charitable Foundation asked the board for $2,780.11 for a marketing expansion for its Tour Des Lakes event on Saturday, July 15. Its goal is to attract more riders and focus on the hotels when marketing so that people will want to spend the night before or after the ride.
The commission granted the foundation’s request.
Following the grant request presentations, the Kosciusko County Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Cori Humes gave an update on the bureau.
She wished everyone a happy national tourism week. She also informed the board that they received a grant of $7,200 to paint a mural in the visitor’s center by a local artist that should be completed in June. Humes also mentioned KCCVB’s continued partnership with DreamOn Studios to capture life in Kosciusko County.
Commission Vice President, Mark Skibowski, addressed the budget for 2024 as its applied to the City-County Athletic Complex, wishing to increase it from $80,000 of the allocated funds for 2023 to $100,000 for deferred maintenance in order to keep the CCAC functional and well-kept.
CCAC Executive Director Mike Hagy spoke of the success that he was seeing at the facility, which is currently at full capacity Monday through Friday.
The commission also agreed to have $885,000 for its proposed 2024 budget, broken down as $510,000 allocated to the KCCVB, $15,000 to administration and $360,000 to funding grants.
New Commission Member Matt Metzger was also sworn in at the meeting.