Mt. CB awards supplemental admissions tax grants

Council considers creating future marketing role

By Kendra Walker

Due to many organizations cancelling events earlier this summer, the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council added a special summer cycle for its Admissions Tax Grants, based on returned funds that could not be used. On Monday, the council awarded a total of $26,128 to five organizations in the community for marketing events.

The town received seven requests and reviewed the applicants on Monday. The following received grant funds to be used for marketing events this summer:

Adaptive Sports Center—$5,800 for marketing to individuals that would benefit from Adaptive’s outdoor activities.

Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce—$5,000 for a Mountain Money gift card program.

Crested Butte Music Festival—$5,000 for marketing Mt. Crested Butte lodging for music festival guests.

Tough Enough to Wear Pink—$2,828 for marketing Mt. Crested Butte lodging for Songwriter Shuffle event.

Travel CB—$7,500 for its “Skip the Crowds, Stay in Mt. Crested Butte” marketing campaign.

Council did not award funds to the Elevation Hotel and Spa for its proposed Sip and Stroll Mountain Top Market due to lack of information. Council also opted not to fund Air Sense Creative Lab’s Mt. CB business collaboration marketing plan – while they were intrigued with the idea they decided the plan needed more thought and encouraged the applicant to try again for the winter cycle.

Council then discussed the idea of using some of the Admissions Tax funds in the future to hire a marketing company to solely market Mt. Crested Butte.

“Maybe there’s a way we could keep the grant funds for certain things but also have somebody for just Mt. Crested Butte marketing,” said council member Lauren Koelliker. “Someone who can be more flexible to what the needs of the town are and respond to different things that are changing without having to wait for a grant cycle,” she said, referring to council’s past disappointments with applicants often focusing more on Crested Butte amenities rather than Mt. Crested Butte, despite grant funds coming from Mt. Crested Butte to support the marketing.

“I think there’s incredible value in this,” said council member Steve Morris, who suggested perhaps hiring a position internally with the town. “Maybe we get more mileage from someone in the community, or at least prioritize a local company first. Either way, we need to figure something out that helps establish our identity even in the most basic forums like a Facebook page and an Instagram page.”

“I think the idea has merit. It needs a lot of definition and you’re going to need a really good RFP,” said town manager Joe Fitzpatrick. “We also have to continually remember that without Crested Butte there’s a great big hole in our resort. We need each other very badly. We are the bedroom for this resort. People will come here for skiing but they’ll still go downtown.”

He continued, “We’ve lost so many good restaurants up here over the years and now we’re down to very few and our shopping experience is focused on skiing and biking, so I think it has to be looked at from many different directions and figuring out what we want to direct somebody to do for us.”

“Perhaps a marketing person could help us with those questions,” said council member Nicholas Kempin. “And have someone help us with developing those strategies.”

“This isn’t about competing with anybody, but by doing this and taking it on we’re going to be benefitting everyone around us,” said Morris.

“We’re not trying to take away from businesses in Crested Butte or tell people not to go there,” added Koelliker. “But perhaps Mt. Crested Butte would become more vibrant over time with an appropriate marketing campaign.”

Council agreed to further develop the idea and continue the discussion in the fall, but in the meantime, council member Morris volunteered to put together a one-pager with ideas and schedule for the town’s social media content.

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