Record number apply for Enterprise motel tax

<I>Kathleen Ellyn/Chieftain</I><BR>Enterprise councilor Stacey Karvoski examines a plan for the Garden of E proposed by Enterprise Elementary School.

Enterprise City Council welcomed 17 applicants for Motel Tax grants of up to $2,000 each at the regular March 8 meeting. The record number of applicants revealed a surge in activities for the county, signaled better advance budgeting and planning for events than the city has ever seen before and introduced nine new tourist-luring events.

Some of the applicants are veterans:

? Sondra Lozier's 32-year-old event, Hell's Canyon Mule Days and the newer Hell's Canyon Quilt Show requested $2,000 for Mule Days and $1,000 for the quilt show, to be used for advertising the events.

? Mountain High Broncs & Bulls, which has grown to be the second largest ranch bronc event in the U.S. - second only to the championship, asked for $2,000 for advertising.

? The popular Courthouse Concert Series sought $2,000 toward their budget of $8,500.

? Fishtrap asked for $1,300 to provide a laptop for traveling event organizers and to replace an ancient copy machine.

? Wallowa County Business Facilitation, which has aided more than 267 developing businesses in Enterprise alone, made their usual compelling request for $2,000 toward expenses.

? WallowaLandTrust returned for a second year with a request for $1,979 from to fund the "Into the Wallowas" series of summer outings and guided hikes. In their first year the program drew 120 participants.

? Juniper Jam, the area's newest music festival which drew a first-year crowd of nearly 500, returned to the council for a second year, asked for $2,000 for expenses.

New requests included:

? A request for $2,000 to help advertise the city's own Bowlby Bash. Inspired by last year's Triple Birthday Bash, the event is expected to be an annual downtown celebration.

? A request for $2000 to haul diamond dust to the adult softball field in Enterprise so as to improve the field and bring softball tournaments to the city. Project director Travis Huffman reported that he had already been approached about providing a tournament site and that such an event would bring in hundreds of individuals.

? An Enterprise Elementary School request for $1,040 to fund teacher Kolby Knifong's class in their continued landscaping work at the former Mayors Garden, now renamed the Garden of E.

? A request for $2,000 to help complete the City of Enterprise interpretive sign at Ward Park - most of this project has been paid for in grant money.

? A request of $2,000 to help advertise the Mountain High Championship Cowboy Mounted Shooting event planned by the Eagle Cap Shooters Association to immediately follow the Mountain High Broncs & Bulls rodeo. Organizer Bob Jones reported that the event had already received verbal commitments from 60 participants. All motels are solidly booked for the weekend already and most participants in the shooting event will stay on the Fairgrounds in campers.

? A request for $2,000 to put toward the VFW Post 4307 Fountain of Honor Project which nears completion.

? A request for sufficient money, $999 to $1,377, for a new computer for the library.

? A request for $1,500 to put toward a new public address system at the fairgrounds, brought forward by the Stockgrower's Rodeo committee. The PA system would be available for any event held at the fairgrounds. An additional $500 was requested for advertising for the Stockgrower's Rodeo which enjoyed an opening year attendance of nearly 400 spectators last year with minimal advertising.

? A returning applicant was welcomed back with enthusiasm - the Wallowa County Fairgrounds board asked for $2,000 for an AED device and promotion of various events.

The council will announce its awards at the next regular meeting, April 13. Motel Tax grant money is collected by the state from motels based on occupancy during the year and must, by law, be donated back to promote events that benefit tourism.

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