Eleven organizations received $28,000 on Tuesday for efforts to bring more visitors to Blair County.
In the sixth year of the Allegheny Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau's grant program, the organizations pledged to use the grants, ranging from $1,200 to $3,500, for brochures, Internet video, promotional T-shirts and advertising.
At a time when organizational budgets are stretched, this grant program is quite vital, AMCVB Executive Director Mark Ickes said.
Revenue for the program comes from the county's levy of a tax on those who stay at lodging sites in Blair County. In the six years of the grant program, the AMCVB has handed out $127,000, Ickes said.
This year's recipients include Rails to Trails of Central Pa. Inc., owner of the 17-mile recreational Lower Trail, a former railroad track. The organization wants to produce a short video highlighting the trail's natural beauty and historic connections.
"The still pictures are nice, but the video will be more interactive," President Jennifer Barefoot said.
Plans call for the trail video to be among the first videos posted on the state's explorepatrails.com website, and on the Rails to Trails and AMCVB websites.
The Allegheny Ridge Corp. plans to use its grant to promote geocaching, a trend that encourages the search for treasures using GPS or global positioning systems. Since a trail of treasures was set up a few months ago along the Mainline Canal Greenway, interest is building and bringing geocachers into Blair County, said Kristina Kachur, Allegheny Ridge geotrail coordinator.
T-shirts with the Greenway geotrail logo would be "a little something extra" that could entice more interest, Kachur said.
Other recipients are:
-- Altoona Community Theatre will enhance marketing efforts for upcoming shows, using a theme of "Here are four great reasons to travel to Altoona ... again ... and again ... and again."
-- Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum will use its grant to pay for design and production of display cards describing museum and the Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark.
-- Altoona Symphony Orchestra will market its concerts beyond Blair County and encourage overnight lodging and dining opportunities.
-- Blair County Arts Foundation will market the annual arts festival to eastern and western Pennsylvania and surrounding states through outdoor advertising and travel publications.
-- Fort Roberdeau Association will use its grant to pay for design and production of display cards.
-- Hollidaysburg Area YMCA will use its grant to promote its races that could draw people from outside the area and increase the amount of overnight stays.
-- Morrisons Cove Memorial Park will use its grant to expand advertising to attract owners of recreational vehicles and campers.
-- Williamsburg Community Farm Show will use its grant to promote the show outside Blair County and to maintain the organization's website, both of which should increase attendance.
-- Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art will use its grant to market upcoming exhibits to potential overnight visitors.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.