Think Iowa City launches tourism grants for Iowa City events

$125,000 is available through the grant program funded by pandemic relief funds

Think Iowa City launches tourism grants for Iowa City events

Cyclists cross over the bridge during the 2021 UCI Cyclocross World Cup Iowa City: Elite Women’s race at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Iowa City in October 2021. (Savannah Blake/The Gazette)

Think Iowa City President Josh Schamberger stands on the roof of the Xtream Arena in the Iowa River Landing in Coralville. (The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Events and initiatives that encourage economic activity in Iowa City could get a financial boost through a new grant program funded by pandemic relief dollars.

The city of Iowa City is working with Think Iowa City to administer a tourism and visitor recovery grant program intended to spur economic activity in the city. A total of $125,000 in American Rescue Plan Act dollars is available through 2026.

“The travel and tourism industry is obviously one of the most greatly affected sectors by the pandemic,” Josh Schamberger, president of Think Iowa City, said in a statement. “This is a great use of ARPA funds to spur new economic activity by visitors to Iowa City.”

The Iowa City Council voted in June to use the funds for tourism and visitor recovery grants. Another $125,000 is being used to replace hotel/motel tax revenue that would have gone to Think Iowa City but was lost during the pandemic.

The Iowa City Tourism Grant Program application is available to both nonprofits and for-profit groups. Applicants do not have to live in Iowa City but any events or programming must take place within city limits.

The grant program will provide a “direct return to Iowa City tourism, hospitality and community,” Schamberger previously said.

“It’ll amplify and ignite some of our most signature festivals and events, but we’ll also be using the program to incubate and incentivize additional opportunities,” he added.

Up to $30,000 is available for new events and up to $5,000 is available for existing events or initiatives. The funds can be used for specific reimbursable expenses, including marketing, promotion and infrastructure.

The grant can fund up to half of the qualified expenses.

The application is available online at ThinkIowaCity.com/IowaCityTourismGrant. Applications will be reviewed monthly.

Funds will be available until 2026 or until they are exhausted.

Comments: (319) 339-3155; [email protected]

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