Press release from Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau:
The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority is seeking candidates to fill four vacancies on the nine-member Tourism Product Development Fund Committee. Comprised of representatives from tourism and lodging businesses and those with legal and financial expertise, the committee makes recommendations to the Buncombe County TDA for funding community projects based on grant requirements mandated by state legislation.
Some of Asheville’s most cherished venues, attractions and facilities have benefited from more than $44 million in community investment from the Buncombe County TDA through the fund. To date, nearly 40 community projects have received grants through the TPDF, which comes from 25 percent of the lodging tax paid by guests to the county.
These include the recently completed River Arts District transportation improvement project, which encompasses greenways, sidewalks, public art, parking, bike lanes, and trees and landscaping. Others range from family attractions like the WNC Nature Center and Pack Square Park, to the arts such as Asheville Art Museum and Montfort Park Players, to sports and recreation including the Enka Center Ballfields and John B. Lewis Soccer Complex, to culture and heritage such as the WNC Farmers Market and the African American Heritage Trail, now under development.
After a two-year hiatus, the Buncombe County TDA will once again make grants through the fund in 2022, with phase one proposals due in May and awards announced in late fall.
TPDF Committee members will be selected in February and serve a term that consists of three funding cycles spanning a minimum of three years. A typical funding cycle includes a series of required committee meetings, to include reviewing proposals to determine if a project satisfies program requirements as mandated by the legislation, attending project presentations, and making site visits. Meetings range from three to eight hours in length and require substantial preparation, to include reviewing lengthy application documents with financials, marketing plans and feasibility studies.
Details on all committee requirements and responsibilities can be found here: https://www.ashevillecvb.com/tpdf-committee. To be considered for the committee, submit a statement of interest to Pat Kappes, vice president of community engagement at Explore Asheville – pkappes@ExploreAsheville.com by the deadline of Jan. 7. Appointments will be made at the BCTDA’ s Feb. 23 meeting.
The TPDF’s yearly grant cycle, and thereby the TPDF Committee, were paused in 2019 for the community initiative known as Buncombe County Tourism Management & Investment Plan to Develop Community Assets, or TMIP, which brought together public entities, tourism officials and the community to develop data-based recommendations to guide future TPDF investment. The pandemic interrupted that process. Emergency legislation at the state level allowed the BCTDA to disburse $5 million in unallocated TPDF funds to tourism related businesses for COVID relief. Of the nearly 400 local businesses that received funding, 97 percent are still operational today.
More information on the Tourism Product Development Fund here.