From an archway at Interstate 80 in West Wendover, to a sculpture in Ely, a wildlife trail at Fallon and an information kiosk at Pahrump, rural Nevada communities are making new plans to attract tourists.
Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt announced nearly $200,000 in rural tourism grants this week to 16 Nevada counties to help make those plans a reality.
The biggest single grant for $40,000 went to Lovelock to construct "Lover's Lock," an area to be used for promoting Lovelock as a place to "lock your love" and to complete a feasibility study for marketing the concept as a visitor attraction, Hunt said.
More than $35,000 is targeted for West Wendover to build a welcoming information kiosk at the Utah state line and an archway designed to draw motorists off I-80.
"A relatively modest grant goes a long way toward assisting our state's small towns, which depend on tourism for their economic health," Hunt said.
"These grants help Nevada's rural communities communicate their attractions through infrastructure improvement or signage installation," she said.
Each recipient must provide at least an equal local match, either in funds or in-kind goods and services that help accomplish the purpose of the grant.
"By awarding these grants, Nevada is investing in the tourism potential of picturesque rural communities that offer excellent outdoor adventure and colorful history," said Bruce Bommarito, executive director of the tourism commission.
"A welcoming sign or helpful information kiosk that draws visitors and encourages them to stay and experience the local attractions provides a very good return on a relatively small investment," he said.
Hunt described the other projects receiving state support in a statement earlier this week:
- Boulder City, $7,950 for new signs and a sound system to enhance tourism information visibility for outdoor events in the Old Town area.
- Elko, $12,550 to develop, acquire and install an Elko Area Visitor Information Kiosk
- Ely, $6,000 to build a sign on the grounds of the White Pine Public Museum in the shape of a standing cave bear to attract attention to the facility and its cave bear exhibit.
- Ely, $18,600 to build the Ely Renaissance Society Sculpture Park under the supervision of noted Nevada sculptor Sarah Sweetwater.
- Fallon, $10,000 to build wildlife and nature interpretation and observation facilities at Stillwater Point Observation Area at the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, including a boardwalk trail.
- Fallon, $8,300 to build two "Welcome to Fallon" signs on U.S. Highway 50.
- Goldfield, $5,000 to provide a new sign for the Chamber of Commerce and a kiosk with visitor information.
- Hawthorne, $9,992 for design and building materials for two kiosks that will provide visitor information about local historic and other points of interest.
- Jackpot, $6,899 to purchase banners, brackets and monuments to place at the Idaho state line.
- Mesquite, $9,600 to help purchase monuments that will provide the city with unique signage that enhances its visitor appeal.
- Pahrump, $12,700 to design and construct an appealing kiosk to serve as a round-the-clock visitor information center.
- Panaca, $9,250 to purchase materials and labor to assist in building up to six visitor information kiosks in several Lincoln County communities situated near state parks.
- Yerington, $5,550 to paint the Lyon County Visitors Center exterior, repaint a mural and purchase a visitor information sign.