Arizona rural tourism development grant program guidelines now available!

The Rural Tourism Development Grant Program (RTDGP) guidelines for FY09 are now available.  The objective of this competitive grant program is to provide coordinated funding for tourism related infrastructure projects in rural communities throughout the state.  The funding amount for FY09 is $500,000.  These funds assist rural economic development through tourism to strengthen the regional and local economies and expand tourism in rural and Tribal communities throughout Arizona.  The primary function of the infrastructure project must be tourism development and the project must be designed to initiate economic growth and enhance future tourism development.  Eligible entities include not-for-profits, government organizations and tribal government.

New for FY09!  Projects that contain an Arizona centennial component will receive priority funding.  A detailed description of the criteria will be included in the FY09 guidelines and projects must comply with these guidelines to be considered a centennial project.  The FY09 RTDGP Guidelines define centennial projects as:

  • Projects that include restoration of historic properties appropriate for use in the observance of the Arizona Centennial.
  • Projects that provide a sense of unity and pride by accentuating the diverse nature of the State’s tourist destinations.

Applications are available on AOT’s business-to-business Web site under the Grants section.  Applications must be received by AOT no later than 5 p.m. Wednesday, October 15, 2008.  If you have any questions, please contact Glenn Schlottman, Tourism Education and Development Manager at 602-364-3727 or via e-mail at  For information on the Arizona Centennial please contact Karen Churchard at 602-364-4158 or via e-mail at

October is Arizona Trail Month

Governor Janet Napolitano recently proclaimed October as Arizona Trail Month.  While any month is a good time to be on a section of the 807-mile Arizona Trail, throughout the month of October the Arizona Trail Association volunteers are offering a long list of “Treasure Our Trail” hikes and rides plus informative talks across the state.  Arizona residents and visitors are encouraged to learn about the path that stretches across the state, and to go out and enjoy it, and also raise funds for the trail.  For all the trek details and registration, visit or call 602-252-4794.

Historic hotel in Florence Arizona to get overhaul

Over the years, there have been several rumors of overhauling the structure but nothing came to life until now.  The historic building will get a complete makeover by the end of the year, say officials with the town of Florence, which owns the building and is paying for most of the renovations with more than $500,000 in grants.  The building won’t turn into another hotel but will instead be revamped into retail and office space, Florence Public Information Officer Jess Knudson said during a recent tour of the structure.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Arizona state parks move to lure, keep volunteers as economy worsens

[Source: Andrew J. Shainker, Cronkite News Service] — Jack Edwards gives visitors to Red Rock State Park a handshake and hello along with a pamphlet on the park’s history.  Louise Appleton leads visitors on moonlight walks.  Those who sneak onto park grounds after hours will get a lecture from Don Swanson, who stays overnight in his trailer.  This nature preserve, set beneath the spectacular cliffs overlooking Sedona, has several employees, but the three aren’t among them.  The retirees are part of a crew of about 80 volunteers that keeps the park running.  [Note: to read the full article click here.]