Main Street of Hope has been awarded an $8,000 matching entertainment grant from the Columbus Area Visitors Center that will help defer the cost of this year’s remaining entertainment events, organizers say.

Main Street’s Executive Director Matt Lee and Interim President Ed Cottrell, with the help of many others, spearheaded the grant writing and submission process.

Both gentlemen are no strangers to the application process, which certainly helped streamline an otherwise notoriously tedious process, they say.

“They wanted to know what we were planning, what type of income we might be anticipating with it,” Cottrell says. “And how we were going to pay for our end.”

Cottrell says putting forethought in the application process worked in Main Street’s favor.

“When you begin the grant process it is beneficial to all parties involved to be as explicit as possible with the wording,” Cottrell says. “I couldn’t have done it without some of the others on the committee’s help.”

Despite the detailed nature of the process at times, it was worth it, he adds. The ultimate goal is to increase visitor traffic in Hope.

“I was overjoyed when we got it,” Cottrell says. “Mission accomplished.”

Lee says landing this grant was one of the final things he intended to mark off on his To-Do List before his planned exit from his position June 20.

“I am hoping that when I leave that they will have a good relationship with the Columbus Area Visitors Center,” Lee says.

The grant is awarded annually and is something that Main Street can reapply for next year, Lee adds.

During his time as executive director of Main Street Lee says he couldn’t help but feel that Hope, up to that point, had been functioning as a satellite community. Hopefully, this newfound relationship with area arts will change that, he says.

“One of my main things when doing this was to build relationships with different entities in Columbus,” Lee says. “For me, I am hoping that whoever takes over the organization will continue to build those relationships outside of Hope.”

The Main Steet organization is hopeful that this year’s packed entertainment schedule, which debuts new events, including Thunder on the Square in June and a Battle of the Bands event in July, will bring in more traffic from surrounding areas, Lee says.

Funds from the $8,000 matching grant can be allocated as the committee sees fit across all the events this year, says Erin Hawkins, director of marketing for the Columbus Area Visitors Center.

The way it works is the Visitors Center has funds allocated to support area nonprofit organizations that are organizing events in Bartholomew County, Hawkins explains. She admits that all the behind the scenes magic it takes to put on events isn’t as glamorous as it can seem, especially when porta potty rental is involved.

“We know those are the types of things that eat up a lot of budget,” Hawkins says. “We are happy to support the efforts that are happening in Hope and are pleased to see some new things pop up on the calendar. It looks like it is going to be a busy spring and summer.”