The Development Association is a non-profit organization created in 1987 to promote, expand, develop and market the existing and potential tourism industry throughout the State. Its mission is to contribute to the economic and cultural growth of the region.
People are now acquiring more income and leisure time, resulting in wider interests and an increased desire to travel. People are constantly looking for new places to visit, sights to see and things to do. The Development Association shall implement the following formula to achieve a successful marketing campaign: get the visitor to stop, to stay as long as possible, to spread the word, and to return. Visitors are also potential investors in a community. A visitor who likes a community may choose to relocate a business in it, purchase property in the community, or even take up permanent residence.
The Development Association works hard to raise the standard of the tourism industry via education, outreach and technical services. Funding was obtained in October 2001 to begin implementing the objectives found in a tourism plan. The Development Association has received a prestigious Award for the Regional Organization of the year, three times. This award is presented to organizations that demonstrate strong community partnerships; have proven measurable accomplishments through advertising or promotional campaigns; display creativity in project design, development and produce results. This is a great honor because the Development Association competed against many other organizations. It has also received 26 awards from the State Tourism Council.
The purpose of this grant application is to request funding to implement key components of the Corridor Management Plan and the Interpretive Plan for the Byway. The construction of the information center will allow the connection of the heritage of one of America's most distinctive areas with its ongoing creative vitality; as laid out in the Interpretive Plan for the Byway. Once set in motion, this plan will convey interesting information and raise traveler awareness regarding critical local topics to interpretation. This project shall also influence traveler behavior and help strengthen the local economy. Through use of the byway information center, we will encourage visitors to experience our interpretive programming and be moved to explore the area in and around the byway. We will also be able to guide the byway traveler to follow our suggested route for finding more information and experiences along the byway. This routing will lead visitors past other byway experiences and increase the economic impact a traveler could have in the byway area. By following our suggested interpretive routing and/or itineraries the traveler shall experience additional intrinsic byway qualities which will result in the visitor making an emotional connection to the interpretive material thus staying connected to the byway area and its heritage.
Participating in the development and implementation of this project will be members of the Information Center Team, the Byway Team, the County Tourist Commission, the County Executive's Office, the Mayor's Office, the County Development Board, County Leadership Organization and the County Industrial Authority. This strategically selected group shall ensure the completion of a state of the art information center. The center will be an attraction within itself, assisting in telling the story of this section of the byway as well as the origin of the name of the county where the center is located. This unique piece of architecture will house literature and interactive displays that will educate the visitors about the colorful heritages of all of the communities along the byway.
The proposed project will benefit the byway traveler and add to their travel experience by educating the traveling public on the history and culture of the Byway in addition to creating an emotional connection to the byway and its people. The more emotionally connected a visitor feels with a destination, the more likely that visitor will return. The byway traveler will be able to experience all of the intrinsic qualities required to be a byway through this project:
***Archaeological - The history of the name of the byway community will be told and shown through the rock formations in the area.
***Cultural - Samples and/or instruction on cultural activities will be housed in this facility, for example, native crafts, music, dance, rituals, festival information, speech, food and special events.
***Historic - The history of the byway and it people will be included in this construction of and running of this facility.
***Natural - Information on the natural qualities that the byway communities possess will be made available to the byway traveler through this dwelling.
***Recreational - Information concerning and access to recreational activities for the byway traveler will be made available through this construction.
***Scenic - Development of a facility based on the history of the byway community will provide the visitor a heightened visual experience derived from the view of this man-made historical replica. The characteristics of the landscape, are strikingly distinct and will offer a most memorable experience for the young and young at heart. All elements needed to contribute to the quality of the byways visual environment will be present: land-form, water, vegetation, and man-made development.