Craig Chamber maps out tourist plan
Interactive map kiosk project in need of grant, local funding
March 23, 2014
Craig — The Craig Chamber of Commerce is seeking funding for a new project that would put interactive touch-screen kiosks across Northwest Colorado.
The 24-hour kiosks would feature a customizable online map of activities and services within Craig and Moffat County. Chamber Director Christina Oxley said the idea is to have a source where people from out of town can access information about hotels, dining, campsites, river access points, hunting units and many more features in one convenient place.
With the Chamber's ability to keep the maps up to date, tourists will be able to plan out a whole day's itinerary without having to wonder if a hiking trail is closed temporarily or if anything else might be an issue, which can be a problem when you're just relying on paper maps and brochures.
"We've got back-end access to customize these, so it can be literally instantaneous," Oxley said.
Placing the kiosks at outdoor locations across town also would increase foot traffic, she said. Possible locations include the Chamber building, Centennial Mall or the downtown area.
Other sites beyond city limits are the visitor center at Dinosaur National Monument and Yampa Valley Regional Airport.
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The kiosks and the map program — provided by advertising firm Lunar Cow, of Akron, Ohio — are expected to cost about $10,000 overall. The Chamber is applying for a grant from Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, the maximum amount being $5,000 as part of a 50 percent match incentive.
"If we can raise the rest, basically, we get this phenomenal product at half-price," Oxley said.
Oxley has requested funding from three bodies: $1,000 from the city; another $1,000 from the county, which is expected to go through the Human Resource Council; and $3,000 from Moffat County Tourism Association's lodging tax revenue.
Oxley has been unable to give her official presentation to the MCTA board of directors so far because of scheduling conflicts, but MCTA Director Melody Villard was able to get many of the details during the pitch to the Moffat County commissioners Tuesday.
Villard said that while she is enthusiastic about the possibilities of the kiosks, she is unsure her organization will be able to swing that much money, with the lodging tax funds already budgeted for other purposes.
Although $2,000 from MCTA's contingency fund could be used, a discussion has yet to take place to determine that course of action. With the grant proposal due at the end of the month, the struggles of working out the details in the past few weeks have been the biggest problem for something that's been a talking point since 2010.
"I definitely think there's benefits to an interactive map, but we're just kind of getting the tail end of it right before the grant process, so we're not really familiar with it in depth," Villard said.
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.