Seaside sunset

A sunset near the Prom in Seaside.

Grants are like your morning coffee. Wisely timed, they can provide a much-needed kick of energy and focus for a project you want to develop. Then — like an afternoon cup — they can stave off a midstride slump by helping to attract matching funds as your project’s needs and details come into better focus.

I’ve got grants on the mind. Why? Well, I’m trying to help the city strategically give away $50,000 in grant funding aimed at tourism development in Seaside, specifically those ideas that fall in the offseason and that have a strong potential to generate overnight stays.

Some of this money will no doubt go to our essential annual fireworks program run by the Seaside Chamber of Commerce, but that leaves $25,000 available (up to $5,000 per individual application) for funding proposed projects, programs, and events in Seaside during the second half of 2020 and all of 2021, which just so happens to be the Prom’s 100th birthday.

Last year we funded development of the Klootchy Creek mountain bike trail system, the Lewis & Clark Salt Makers re-enactment, Halloween Happenin’s in downtown Seaside, the Oregon Coast Classic jump rope tournament, and the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District’s pickleball tournament. We even funded an exploratory committee to look at bringing a jazz festival back to Seaside, although the effort was ultimately unsuccessful and the grant money returned.

Grants are an important tool for building opportunities and attractions. I see that clearly in my work at the visitors bureau. Last fall we were awarded $14,590 in an extremely competitive grant process through Travel Oregon to produce a commemorative booklet for the Seaside Promenade’s upcoming centennial. Last month, Clatsop County funded our application for $25,020 to produce a series of short-form videos related to the marketing collaborative between Astoria, Seaside, and Cannon Beach.

Bed taxes are responsible for driving the overall machinations of our extensive marketing program for Seaside as a destination. However, grants allow us to explore specific, tactical ideas that maybe aren’t directly germane to our core responsibilities as a destination marketing organization or fall outside the scope of our annual budget.

And here’s why I’m writing this all out. This town is full of some of the most hardworking, most selfless, most intelligent people I’ve had the pleasure of working with in my professional career. From the businesses of the Seaside Downtown Development Association to the chamber of commerce to the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District and all the volunteers that are the lifeblood of successful Seaside events each year. Your ideas and actions are why Seaside has attracted so many visitors over the years and has remained a family favorite in an age where every town is a “destination” of sorts. It’s written in our history.

I encourage each and every one of you to read through the tourism grant information at SeasideOR.com/tourism-grant-program and consider using this opportunity to collaborate with this incredible community to create that event you’ve always wanted to see, develop that attraction you think is missing, design that program you’ve got bouncing around your head. So long as you can clearly make the case that your grant application will bring overnight visitors, there’s a good chance the Tourism Advisory Committee will support you.

The grant application deadline is Friday, May 8.

Got a comment or question? I’d love to hear from you. Write me at jheineman@cityofseaside.us.

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