FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Montana Office of Tourism
Montana Department of Commerce
Montana Department of Commerce
Montana Department of Commerce Awards the MT Heritage Commission $150,000 for Historic Preservation & Tourism Development
(HELENA) – The Montana Department of Commerce is awarding the Montana Heritage Commission (MHC) $150,000 to bolster historic preservation and tourism efforts at state-owned properties managed by the Commission in Virginia City, Nevada City and Reeder’s Ally in Helena.
“I know firsthand the quality of extraordinary visitor experiences provided by the Montana Heritage Commission and its dedicated volunteers,” said Governor Steve Bullock. “My family and I kicked-off the start of the summer tourism season in Virginia City – it was an incredible experience we will never forget. It’s our duty as Montanans to preserve our heritage. Supporting the work of the MHC helps preserve our past, present and future.”
The MHC plans to use the money for preservation needs in Virginia and Nevada City as well as Reeder’s Alley in Helena. Virginia and Nevada City efforts will be focused on preserving historic Main Street buildings and developing additional revenue generators for future capital needs. The project in Reeder’s Alley will be focused on safety and infrastructure improvements to create a more business friendly environment.
“Montana’s history and culture play a paramount role in the unique experiences we are able to provide for our visitors,” said Meg O’Leary, Director of the Department of Commerce. “Ensuring that our cultural treasures are preserved for both our visitors as well as for Montanans is a valued goal we share with the Heritage Commission.”
The MHC is charged with acquiring, managing and preserving properties and artifacts with outstanding historical value on behalf of the state of Montana
The Montana Legislature created the MHC and authorized the purchase of restoration properties in Virginia and Nevada Cities from the Bovey family in 1997. The communities have become popular tourism destinations, allowing visitors to experience life during the 1860s gold rush era.
“We are pleased to support our partners in helping to preserve and restore our treasured historic buildings and landmarks. Our visitors choose Montana in order to have experiences they can’t find anywhere else,” said Jeri Duran, Administrator for the Office of Tourism.
“We have a vital and healthy tourism economy and it is incumbent on us as Montanans to ensure that we see continued growth in the future.”
The Montana Office of Tourism is funded through a 4% Lodging Facility Use Tax, commonly referred to as the “bed tax.” The tax is collected from guests of hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, guest ranches, resorts and campgrounds.
Tourism and recreation is one of Montana’s most vibrant industries. Montana experienced a 15% increase in traveler spending last year contributing $3.3 billion to Montana’s economy. This, coupled with a 6% growth in tourism jobs, makes the travel and hospitality industry a healthy and growing sector of Montana’s economy.