ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WFRV) Governor Tony Evers came to Titletown today, bearing gifts for those in the tourism industry. Kris Schuller reports the governor announced he has set aside $10 million in grants, to help build up the industry’s infrastructure.
For over four years Brad Toll has been trying to get a visitor’s center built here in Ashwaubenon. Today, Gov. Evers announced a new state program that gives Toll renewed hope.
“This is great news not only for us, but Wisconsin’s tourism industry,” said the president of the Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Governor Evers announced the state has set aside $10 million of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act for grants up to $3.5 million, to directly support tourism-related investment projects.
“Our goal with these funds is to not only make sure Wisconsin’s tourism industry continues to recover but ensuring we’re going to build for a strong future for the industry,” said Evers.
The CVB wants to build a $6 million center here off Lombardi near I-41. But with the pandemic, getting that last bit of funding needed has been hard.
“The project is an important one and a critical one. We’ve just had a number of bumps along the way getting the funding in place,” Toll said.
Toll says the facility would be a first stop for visitors and he says his staff would do their best to make a good impression and point them to places of interest.
“When you have visitors in your destination it’s really critical you are interacting with them and engaging them while they are here,” said Toll.
“We know that the tourism industry impacts our local economies across the state,” said Evers.
Applications for the grants will be available soon and Evers is encouraging all in the industry to apply. Toll says he’ll act quickly because the funding could make this visitors center reality.
“It’s not a done deal. We have to apply for the grant, but it’s an additional opportunity to find the funding to get the project moving forward,” said Toll.
Tourism in Wisconsin last year had a $17.3 billion impact on the state’s economy.