A couple takes a photo in front of the Mukilteo Lighthouse. The lighthouse, built in 1906, is one of the most iconic landmarks in all of Snohomish County. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A couple takes a photo in front of the Mukilteo Lighthouse. The lighthouse, built in 1906, is one of the most iconic landmarks in all of Snohomish County. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Youth sports tournaments rake in Snohomish County tourism grants

On Monday, Snohomish County announced $600,000 in grants for 39 organizations. Sports and arts took up a big slice of the pie.

EVERETT — Local tourism got a $600,000 boost from Snohomish County this week.

The county announced grant recipients through the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee’s Hotel-Motel Small Fund, from a 2% tax on hotel and motel room rentals throughout Snohomish County. The 39 organizations receiving money include cities, museums and other public and private organizations.

Trudy Soriano, the county’s tourism promotion area coordinator, said the small fund can provide a barometer on how well tourism is doing in the county. Last year, she said, the county gave out about $100,000 less than the year before.

The small fund had hovered slightly below $500,000 in previous years, she said.

The tax and grants “put money back into the community and supports our tourism partners” and she thinks about it as a “return on investment,” noting the tourism industry is bouncing back after the pandemic, Soriano said.

Visitors to Snohomish County brought in $1.45 billion locally and visitation accounted for 15,105 jobs in 2022, according to a county press release.

Sports organizations and outdoor groups got a big boost. Over $131,000 went to sports leagues and outdoor recreation. Arts groups, historical associations, museums and theaters received about $160,000. Festivals and events benefited from most of the rest of the grants.

Some of the biggest grantees include:

Snohomish Youth Soccer: $50,000

… for the Snohomish United Bigfoot Tournament. The event attracts U8 to U19 boys and girls soccer teams from across the West to a four-day tournament at Stocker Fields in Snohomish.

Port of Everett: $47,000

… for Waterfront Place Winter Festivities. Last year’s Holiday on the Bay event featured food trucks, a pop-up market and crafts at the Pacific Rim Plaza.

Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance: $45,000

… for the Advance 2024 Annual Conference. This year’s conference, on Feb. 5, brought together aerospace experts for discussion panels and networking.

Schack Art Center: $35,250

… for promoting programming. The center in downtown Everett supports and exhibits “contemporary art focusing on issues of social justice, celebrating diverse cultures, and bringing non-traditional art to the public,” the center’s website said.

“This investment helps attract tourists, supports emerging artists, and drives economic growth while enriching our community,” said Raedle Alburn, development and education director at the Schack Art Center, in a press release.

Village Theatre: $30,000

… for Mainstage productions throughout 2024 at the Everett Performing Arts Center.

City of Monroe: $30,000

… for the Sky & Sno Adventure Guide. The magazine features businesses and organizations throughout the Sky Valley.

Seattle Metro J O: $25,000

… for the 2024 USA Softball Western Nationals. The Snohomish County Sports Commission works closely with Metro J O and is organizing lodging for the tournament. The Sports Commission and the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau are separate entities.

Between 60 to 70 teams from across the western United States, and as far away as Texas, are expected to attend. The tournament serves as the western region’s championship.

“We roll out the red carpet,” said Tammy Dunn, executive director of the Snohomish County Sports Commission.

Dunn expects about 3,300 total overnight stays in hotels due to the event, which will draw an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 people. The event will use three ballfields: Meadowdale in Lynnwood; Phil Johnson in Everett; and Kasch Park in Everett. The sports commission helped secure those sites over the last year.

Hosting the event, Dunn said, likely won’t just draw people to Snohomish County once.

“Maybe they will come back again,” she said.

The Snohomish County Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: $20,000

… for data analysis. The county is looking at how the Evergreen State Fair Park generates “paid overnight stays,” associated with the fairgrounds, Meghan Jordan, a spokesperson with county natural resources wrote in an email. The money will help identify which events generate the greatest number of overnight stays, which ones create the longest stays and other data points to compete for larger funding.

“Tourism is a core component of Snohomish County’s economy, and many families depend on visitor spending for their livelihoods,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers in a press release. “People from across the world travel here to explore our beautiful and diverse natural resources, thriving small business community, and innovative aerospace sector. These grants help boost visitation so that more communities can sustainably explore our singular county with attractions that can’t be found anywhere else.”

Other notable recipients include:

• JAKT Foundation: $25,000

• Arlington Fly-In: $18,750

• Snohomish Wedding Guild: $15,000

• Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival: $10,000

• Space 802 Charity: $10,000

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the relationship between the Snohomish County Sports Commission and the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau.

Jordan Hansen: 425-339-3046; jordan.hansen@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jordyhansen.

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