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Indiana Tourism Awards $470,000 in Destination Development Grants

INDIANAPOLIS (March 6, 2020) – Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD) announced that the Indiana Tourism Council awarded $470,000 in Destination Development Grants. The recipients are Minnetrista Cultural Foundation, Evansville Zoological Society, and Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Indiana’s tourism industry continually grows year after year, and these projects are an example of that,” Crouch, who chairs the council, said. “By funding these projects, we are investing in tourism amenities, attractions, and facilities that enhance the visitor experience.”

The Minnetrista Cultural Foundation received $250,000 for the Bob Ross Experience. The historic L.L. Ball home on Minnetrista’s campus in Muncie is where the legendary artist painted for his iconic series, “The Joy of Painting.” The Foundation says they are creating a destination for Ross fans by introducing a world-class museum exhibit showcasing Ross’s life and work. There will be immersive experiences and a TV studio.

The Evansville Zoological Society received $161,776 for Mesker Park Zoo to create Indiana’s first Humboldt penguin habitat, Penguins of Patagonia. Officials expect the penguin habitat to attract thousands of visitors, as well as energize the visitors’ experience. The Zoo currently attracts 185,000 visitors per year.

The Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau received $58,223 in matching grants for the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. The project components include constructing a climate-controlled medical building south of the finish line at the cross-country course and amending the existing finish-line structure at the cross-country course to promote safety during races.

“This grant is to help boost communities and regions across the state and we are very excited about these three projects,” said Misty Weisensteiner, director of IOTD. “Destinations are constantly reviving their efforts to attract visitors and strengthen existing ones.”

IOTD’s Destination Development Grant program timeline, guidelines, and application can be found here.