SCT Allocates Grant Funding To Regional Visitor Centers

SONOMA COUNTY, CA (January 25, 2024) Sonoma County Tourism (SCT) has announced grants totaling up to $98,215 to support 13 visitor centers across Sonoma County for infrastructure enhancements.  

Visitor Centers were awarded grants across three different categories: technology needs, signage and wayfinding or individualized projects. The grant guidelines were informed by SCT’s Visitor Center Study, which was conducted countywide in the spring and summer of 2023. 

“Sonoma County’s visitor centers, like many local businesses, struggled to maintain consistent operations throughout the pandemic. Most of their resources have been allocated toward the bare minimum expenses required to maintain staff and basic operations,” said Kelly Bass Seibel, Vice President, Community Engagement at Sonoma County Tourism, “This grant provides them with the opportunity to provide much needed infrastructure updates that for some, date back over 30 years.” 

The grant program included an application process through which the centers provided projects and anticipated costs. SCT determined funding for each based on the merits of the application, the overall need, and the value of the project to Sonoma County’s visitors.  

Visitor center grantees for Fiscal Year 2023- 2024 include:

Visitor Center Grant Category Project Amount Awarded 
Bodega Bay (Sonoma Coast) Visitor Center Technology Large interactive touchscreen/kiosk Up to $3,500 
Bodega Bay (Sonoma Coast) Visitor Center Signage/Wayfinding Upgraded signage that includes their partnership with Sonoma County Tourism Up to $1,500 
Bodega Bay (Sonoma Coast) Visitor Center Individualized Project Improved guest experience – indoor and outdoor furniture and bike racks Up to $5,000 
Cloverdale Visitors Center Technology Large interactive touchscreen/kiosk Up to $4,000 
Fort Ross Visitors Center Technology Tablets to upgrade guest experience Up to $800 
Fort Ross Visitors Center Signage/Wayfinding Interpretive signs and updated posters. Up to $2,000 
Fort Ross Visitors Center Individualized Project Marine exhibit and display, updated equipment and display racks to enhance guest experience Up to $4,385 
Geyserville Visitors Center Individualized Project Improved guest experience including: temperature control, furniture, directional signage and a touch screen computer Up to $7,400 
Mark West Visitors Center Signage/Wayfinding Updated signage Up to $3,000 
Mark West Visitors Center Individualized Project Improved guest experience: updated shelving and display Up to $3,000 
Petaluma Visitors Center Individualized Project Large digital display including touchscreen, hardwiring, and sound bar, wireless cameras for security purposes, tablets for upgraded guest experience Up to $10,000 
Redwood Coast Visitors Center Individualized Project Matching grant with Visit Mendocino to reopen the Redwood Coast Visitors Center. Items include touchscreen/kiosk, reestablishment of telecommunication networks and a bike rack. Up to $5,000 
Russian River Visitors Center Individualized Project Improved guest experience: updated computers, upgraded paint and signage Up to $10,000 
Visit Santa Rosa Welcome Center Technology  Digital video wall Up to $4,000 
Visit Santa Rosa Welcome Center Signage/Wayfinding Vinyl window signage Up to $1,400 
Visit Santa Rosa Welcome Center Individualized Project Picture hanging systems to promote local artists work and enhance the visitor experience Up to $2,130 
Sebastopol Visitors Center Individualized Project Replace carpets with laminate flooring and new chairs for an upgraded guest experience Up to $8,000 
Sonoma Valley Visitors Center Technology Laptops and security cameras Up to $1,200 
Sonoma Valley Visitors Center Signage/Wayfinding Directional signage to help visitors find both centers Up to $2,000 
Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods (Armstrong Woods Visitors Center) Individualized Project Interactive and kid friendly exhibit to focus on Pond Farm Pottery and the legacy of Margurite Wildenhain, Pond Farm was designated as a National Historic Landmark in December, 2023. Up to $10,000 
Windsor Visitors Center Technology Large interactive touchscreen/kiosk Up to $2,300 
Windsor Visitors Center Signage/Wayfinding Upgraded signage Up to $3,000 
Windsor Visitors Center Individualized Project Metal mobile kiosk to increase engagement and display maps and brochures Up to $4,600 

 
“This funding will help ensure enhanced and consistent signage, advanced technical tools and some physical improvements each visitor center deemed as important,” said Thera Buttaro, SCT Board member and chair, Community Engagement Committee. “This also helps ensure the centers can offer the level of visitor engagement that conveys the extraordinary attributes of each location.” 

For the visitor centers, this funding opportunity provides major improvements that may not be made possible otherwise. In 2023, SCT made a commitment to dedicate resources and staff to ensure the local visitor centers are supported through operational and infrastructure grants. In late 2023, SCT granted $500,000 in operational grants to visitor centers across the county.

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About Sonoma County Tourism     

Sonoma County Tourism is the region’s destination stewardship organization. Inspiring travel to the region through a variety of sales and marketing programs aimed at consumers, meeting and event planners, the travel trade, and media, the organization strives to ensure responsible tourism helps create a robust economy for the Sonoma County region. For more information visit sonomacounty.com.     

Media Contact:  
Kelly Bass Seibel, Vice President, Community Engagement 
707-522-5820 
[email protected]

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