Posts Tagged ‘lake county’

Lake County Commissioner Dan Sloan was all over Northern Michigan media last week to talk about a $45,000 federal grant the county landed, with the assistance of MAC.



In a Friday report from Channel 9&10 News, Sloan said, “We have over 300 miles of ORV trails in the county. If we can get that out, we know we are going to draw a lot of tourists. That’s going to protect our existing jobs and lead to more employment to the county.”

Sloan also was interviewed by the Lake County Star (see below) about the grant, which the county won through a competitive process with the aid of MAC’s grant service assistant, Gabriel Zawadzki.

County awarded grant to promote tourism industry

By Brendan Losinski

LAKE COUNTY — A $45,000 grant was awarded to Lake County from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development division. The grant will be used to promote the tourism industry in order to increase jobs and grow local businesses. While dozens of counties applied for this grant, only a handful, including Lake County, were chosen.

With the awarding of the grant, a new committee, headed by county commissioner Dan Sloan, has been formed to oversee the distribution of the funds and organize a marketing and advertising campaign for the county. It will be comprised of several local business owners and members of business promoting county groups.

The grant money will be focused on re-branding Lake County as the premiere off-road vehicle destination in the Midwest. This will be done through targeted online advertising, using online analytics and focused ads that will specifically be aimed at ORV enthusiasts in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Ontario, and, of course, Michigan. This marketing campaign is planned to last a year and a half before further steps are to be implemented.

“If this is successful,” explained third district county commissioner, and committee overseer Dan Sloan, “after the first year and a half we can move to a full year, four season promotion of Lake County’s tourist industry. This means moving beyond ORV promotion, and advertising fishing, cross country skiing, Blessing of the Bikes, everything.”

The grant will also go towards designing and implementing a new phone app that will aid tourists and ORV enthusiasts. The app will map all of the county’s trails, provide GPS coordinates, and highlight restaurants, hotels, campgrounds, and other points of interest within the county.

“I’ve been a business owner here since 1980, and it’s pretty evident that tourism is really important to the local economy,” said committee member Jim Faiella. “We’ve got a great resource here with our trails… Any money we spend on advertising the county will be money well-spent.”

Sloan notes that the commission has contracted with the Michigan Association of Counties to help administer the grant, citing concerns about distribution after a low-income resident grant from 2013 was inadvertently mishandled and resulted in complications for the county. He states that every precaution is being taken to ensure that this grant is dealt with appropriately.

The county has over 800 miles of trails, 300 of which are designated for ORV use. The marketing campaign is slated to begin in early 2015, the planning of which has already begun.


Posted by Kyle Leppek on March 5th, 2014 If awarded, $99,000 grant would use digital marketing LAKE CO. — Next month, county officials hope to hear that they have be awarded a nearly $100,000 grant to market Lake County as an off-road vehicle tourist destination. On Feb. 28 a grant application was submitted by the Lake County Board of Commissioners to the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development seeking a $99,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant. If the county is awarded the grant in April, the money will be used to brand the county as an ORV tourist destination through mostly digital media. The approximately 400 page application included assistance from the Michigan Association of Counties, county prosecutor and his staff, county clerk and her staff, county treasurer and her staff, local businesses and board of commissioners. It even involved finding the public act that formed Lake County in 1871 from the state archives. HISTORY: Pictured is part of the original public act that formed Lake County in 1871. It was included in the county’s grant application and had to be retrieved from the state archives. (Courtesy photo) “It was a real team effort in terms of everybody that helped kick in to get this done,” said Commissioner Dan Sloan. Originally, the county was seeking a $100,000 grant, but that changed after the applicants realized they would score higher on the application if the amount requested was less than $100,000. Lake County’s application also is expected to score higher because of some of the challenges residents face. “The fact that we are a county that has a lot of challenges in terms of a high poverty rate and high unemployment rate, and those are chronic, those give us greater scores than other counties,” Sloan said. “They enhance our chances of getting assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.” If the county is awarded the grant, implementing its proposal would be a two year process. The county would use the money to establish a website, for video and photography production, create digital and print ads and other Internet related marketing. The first year would likely be spent getting everything up and running, while the following year would be a fully operational marketing campaign. While the county would be the fiduciary, a committee consisting of county government officials and business owners would be formed to oversee the program. The hope is if residents like the program that they will continue to support it after the grant period. Included in the application we letters from more than 30 Lake County businesses which employ more than 200 people supporting the grant. While the grant is specifically aimed toward ORV tourism, Sloan sees it helping a broad range of businesses throughout the county. “If we can get more people in the county, we know that it is going to help our businesses; they will stop and spend some dollars,” Sloan said.
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