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Governor Presents Two Tourism Grant Awards in Hayward

Governor Evers visited two Hayward tourism locations, the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and the American Birkebeiner Foundation, to present two grant awards as part of a Tourism Capital Investment Grant Program that awarded $21.9 million to 27 different local governments and organizations.

Evers with Tweed Shuman, Sawyer County Board Chair and LCO Sec-Treasurer, photo by Lonnie Barber

Evers recognized the Hayward area as having International travelers and that tourism is a huge part of our economy.

“We value our tourism industry,” Evers said while presenting the check at the Fishing Hall of Fame. “We know there are challenges in general that the industry currently faces and this grant is one step to make sure our tourism stays the course.”

Evers said 2021 tourism revenues in Wisconsin far exceeded any other state in the region.

According to a press release from the Governor’s office, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation will receive a grant of $762,750 to help with the development of the Mt. Telemark Village, a destination year-round recreation area on the historic Telemark Lodge property, which was purchased by the foundation in February 2021. The development will include a paved fitness trail, an outdoor gym and fitness area, a biathlon range, beginner and intermediate mountain bike trails that will also accommodate youth racing, and a lookout tower.

In addition, the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward welcomes approximately 50,000 visitors annually and will receive a $42,174.29 grant to make updates to museum facilities, including carpet replacement.

“The grants are aimed for major tourism-related capital improvement projects across the state that help promote, maintain, or bolster Wisconsin's tourism industry. The announcement today is a continuation of the governor's efforts to support Wisconsin's tourism industry. Since 2020, Gov. Evers has prioritized more than $200 million in support for travel, tourism, lodging, and entertainment industries.

“We've prioritized major investments in Wisconsin's tourism industry, because it's at the core of our local economies, helping to promote local festivals and events, support small businesses, restaurants, and hotels, showcase our outdoor recreation opportunities, and so much more,” said Gov. Evers. “From Green Bay to Hayward to Wisconsin Dells, these capital infrastructure projects will help ensure Wisconsin's tourism industry—and all the industries that depend on it—continue to be a strong part of our economy.”

Created and announced by Gov. Evers in August of 2021, the Tourism Capital Investment Grant Program is funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act, and grants can be used to build, expand, or maintain buildings, travel-related infrastructure, or public attractions. The grants awarded range from $29,000 to the maximum of $3.5 million, and due to significant interest in the program, additional funding was allocated to support more projects across the state.

“We are proud to support our critical tourism and entertainment industries with capital improvements and investments that would be hard to come by without additional support from the state,” said Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld. “I know this investment will make a big difference for communities that rely on tourism dollars to thrive.”

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