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State grants help Morgan County develop and market amenities

Jun 06, 2024 01:04PM ● By Linda Petersen

Morgan County has recently been the beneficiary of two state grants.

The first, a Utah Outdoor Recreation Grant of $31,000 for the Morgan County Fairground Trail will be used to extend the 10-foot-wide multiuse trail by 1,500 linear feet from the bus garage to the pickleball courts at the entrance to the county fairgrounds which will connect it to other outdoor recreation spaces. The trail will be constructed of 3 inches of hot mix asphalt and 8 inches of untreated base course.

“Planned users of the trail system will be of all ages and include walkers, joggers, bicyclists, skateboarders, snowshoers, cross-country skiers, and others,” the project’s scope of work says.

The county is required to come up with another $31,000 percent in matching funds but half of it can be done through in-kind donations, Commissioner Blaine Fackrell told his fellow commissioners on May 21. The remainder will come from the county’s recreation fund. 

I like the grant; I'm glad we got it,” he said. ‘It’ll be helping with the future plan of what we have for the fairgrounds. It will help in every aspect of what we're doing [for] the tourism and economic development of the county and the fairgrounds.”

That evening the commission voted unanimously to accept the grant and directed that the trail be put out to bid.

The second grant of $25,000 from the Utah Office of Tourism will be used to help develop a new website which will include a business directory to assist visitors to Morgan Valley. The county will also develop four “visual, digital itineraries” which will showcase several local businesses. The itineraries will include activities visitors can participate in while in Morgan County and encourage them to recreate responsibility while here including respecting the local community, staying on trails and picking up trash. They will also encourage visitors to spend the night in Morgan County.

“The County’s goal with these four visual itineraries is to not only cater to a variety of interests—family-friendly, agricultural, summer travel, and winter travel—but to showcase all there is to see and do in the valley in a digestible and visually appealing way while also encouraging responsible travel,” the project’s scope of work says.

As part of this project the website developers will work with third parties such as Google and TripAdvisor to include up-to-date Morgan County information), train business owners on updating their own operating information, identify the existing inventory of dining, retail and entertainment options and determine gaps and provide up-to-date information and operating hours on analog and digital resources for existing dining options. They will also identify and evaluate existing lodging and accommodations and short-term rentals in Morgan County and launch a search engine optimization strategy.

Once they are complete and published on the new Morgan Valley website, Morgan County will promote these itineraries organically and through paid advertising on Morgan Valley’s Instagram and Facebook accounts. λ

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