Last week, at the Friday Morning Group, we talked about the long term nature of attitudinal change. Sometimes progress can be agonizingly slow, but it is progress none the less. Sometimes it is two steps forward and one step back. Nobody likes taking that step back, but you are still one step forward than you were before. Change is never easy, and it really doesn't come rapidly very often. Most times when it seems change is coming rapidly, when you really look at it, you find it has been a long time coming.
Speaking of long term, we talked about an opportunity for next year. The Pinellas Convention and Visitors Bureau has a grant program called "New Product Development". For those of you who don't, know the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is part of the Pinellas County Government. It gets its funding from the bed tax on hotel rooms. This funding stream is not at risk in the property tax reform struggle going on in Tallahassee.
Last year, the CVB had $250 thousand budgeted for New Product Development Grants. They were only able to fund approximately $180 thousand to qualified programs. The purpose of the New Product Development Grants is to draw more tourists to Pinellas County. The County Commission believes in these grants and has urged that they be increased despite the inability to fully fund them last year. This coming year the budget has been increased to $300 thousand.
The reason that this is an opportunity for next year is that the deadline for grant applications for this year was last Friday. That's the bad news. The good news is that we now have a year to develop the FMG concepts into a grant proposal for next year. One other piece of good news is the the CVB has a brand new director. DT Minnich has just come on board from a similar position in Lee County. He has been known to use the community based artists in Lee County as a way to differentiate his area from other Florida beach communities. I think this is a great opportunity for us. We look forward to the opportunity for DT to join us at the Friday Morning Group sometime soon.
Sometimes progress can be agonizingly slow, but it is progress none the less.