By Judy Ellich for Daily American

Every year since the Hickory Hollow Campground was built near New Centerville 13 years ago, there has been an increase in the number of visitors, owner Doug Huston said Thursday as he stood in a happy crowd of tourism grant recipients in the Somerset Historical Center.

He soon would be returning to his business with a $4,343 marketing grant that will pay for the creation of a new brochure and a direct mail campaign to target past guests.

This is not the first time the campground has benefited from the Somerset County Tourism Grant Program. When Hickory Hollow Campground was initiated, Huston was awarded two county tourism capital grants that helped him get started — one for landscaping and another for a water runoff treatment system. “My business has benefited very nicely through the generosity of this program,” he said.

In all, 32 organizations and businesses in Somerset County received a single grant and one organization received two grants totaling nearly a quarter-million dollars from the annual tourism grant program. The program is funded by 40 percent of the proceeds of the Somerset County hotel tax, which was initiated in 2002.

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