Tag Archives: Tourism

History And The Regional Economic Development Councils

Regional Econmoic CouncilsHere is some information about the latest round of proposals through the Regional Economic Development Councils. These regional councils provide a vehicle through which history tourist proposals which provide economic development could be submitted.

I would be curious to know if the history community is working with these Regional Development Councils since as everyone knows tourism is big business in New York. People may mistakenly think these councils are only for factories or projects of that nature. As a result the history community may shut itself off from where the real money is.

Don’t confuse the Regional Economic Development Councils for the Path through History, a top-down project which is poorly funded for actual distributions at the local or regional level. These regional councils are much more grassroots based.

Regional Economic Development Councils

In 2011, Governor Cuomo created 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. A key component of Governor Cuomo’s transformative approach to economic development, these councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations.

Over the past two years, as part of a process that has awarded over $1.5 billion for job creation and community development, the Regional Councils produced innovative plans and implementation agendas that truly reflect the distinct characteristics of each of the 10 regions of our great state.

New York is keeping the momentum going with a third round of funding this year for the Regional Councils, including $220 million to implement regional strategies and priorities.

The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach. The third round of awards will once again allow the regions to continue pursuing and investing in its own economic destiny.

About the Consolidated Funding Application

As part of Governor Cuomo’s efforts to improve the state’s economic development model, a NYS Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) was created to streamline and expedite the grant application process. The CFA process marks a fundamental shift in the way state resources are allocated, ensuring less bureaucracy and greater efficiency to fulfill local economic development needs. The CFA serves as the single entry point for access to economic development funding, ensuring applicants no longer have to slowly navigate multiple agencies and sources without any mechanism for coordination. [Emphasis added] Now, economic development projects use the CFA as a support mechanism to access multiple state funding sources through one application, making the process quicker, easier, and more productive..

There are 26 programs available through 13 state agencies in 2013, including Empire State Development; NYS Canal Corporation; NYS Energy Research and Development Authority; Environmental Facilities Corporation; Homes and Community Renewal; Department of Labor; Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; Department of State, Office of National and Community Service; Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance; Higher Education Services Corporation; Department of Environmental Conservation; and Council on the Arts.

The 2013 Available CFA Resources Manual, which outlines the funds available from 29 state agency programs, and the 2013 REDC Guidebook, which provides the competitive guidelines for this year, are both available at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

Upcoming CFA Workshops

As I examined the schedule of meetings below I recalled the complaint I made about the Mid-Hudson regional meeting in January for the Path through History project: there was one meeting for the entire region and it was in Dutchess County. The location was convenient for the organizers but it was not the demographic, geographic, or tourist center of the region. By contrast notice how many workshops are being held in each region of these councils which reflect a greater emphasis on reaching out to the community they serve.

Capital Region (Capital-Saratoga on Path website including Schenectady from the Mohawk Region )

7/10/2013 1:00-3:30 pm Empire State Plaza

7/15/2013 9:30 am – 12:00 PM Columbia-Greene Community College

7/19/2013 9:30 am – 12:00 PM SUNY Adirondack

Central Region

6/27/2013 12:00-2:30pm Cazenovia College

7/10/2013 2:00-4:30pm Cayuga Community College

7/24/2013 9:30am-12:00pm LeMoyne College

Finger Lakes Region

6/18/2013 4:00-6:30pm Memorial Art Gallery

6/20/2013 4:00-6:30pm Hobart and William Smith Colleges

6/24/2013 4:00-6:30pm SUNY Geneseo

6/27/2013 4:00-6:30pm SUNY Genesee Community College (GCC)

Long Island Region

Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 3:00pm

Farmingdale State College, Campus Center Ballroom

2350 Broadhollow Road, Melville, NY 11735

Mid-Hudson Region (Hudson Valley on the Path website plus there is a Catskill region)

7/9/2013 6:30pm-9:00pm Manhattanville College

7/10/2013 6:30pm-9:00pm Mt. Saint Mary College, Aquinas Hall

7/11/2013 6:30pm-9:00pm Dutchess County Community College

Mohawk Valley Region (no such region on the Path website and it appears to have been split into multiple regions based on the principle, no doubt, that the Mohawk Valley is not a tourist destination in anyone’s mind while Central New York is a name known around the world)

6/20/2013 9:00am-11:30am SUNY IT

7/10/2013 9:00am-11:30am SUNY Cobleskill

7/17/2013 2:00pm-4:30pm Fulton Montgomery Community College

New York City Region

6/17/2013 10:00am Brooklyn College

7/9/2013 10:00am-12:30pm College of Staten Island

7/11/2013 9:00am-11:30pm Hostos Community College

7/17/2013 10:00am-12:30pm John Jay College of Criminal Justice

7/23/2013 9:00am-11:30pm LaGuardia Community College

North Country Region (divided into the Adirondacks and Thousand Island Seaways on the Path website which at least are legitimate tourist names)

6/18/2013 2:30-5:00pm SUNY Potsdam

6/26/2013 9:00am-12:00pm Clinton Community College

6/28/2013 9:00am-12:00pm Dulles State Office Building

Southern Tier Region (divided into the Finger Lakes, Central New York, and the Catskills on the Path website)

6/18/2013 6:00-8:30pm Holiday Inn Downtown (Ithaca)

6/20/2013 6:00-8:30pm Corning Community College

6/25/2013 6:00-8:30pm Morrisville College

6/27/2013 1:30-4:00pm Binghamton University

Western New York Region (divided primarily into Greater Niagara and Chautauqua-Allegheny on the Path website)

6/25/2013 2:00-5:00pm Buffalo State College

7/8/2013 2:00-5:00pm Conference Center Niagara Falls

7/22/2013 9:00am-12:00pm Jamestown Community College – Olean Campus

7/22/2013 3:00pm-6:00pm Jamestown Community College – Jamestown Campus

As you can see, the ten regions of Cuomo’s new Regional Economic Development Councils do not match the ten regions of Cuomo’s new Path through History project so you may have to investigate to determine exactly what region you are in. To make matters more confusing, longstanding statewide history organizations use other regional divisions. The NYSOPRHP uses 12 regions (really 13):

1 – Niagara

2 – Allegany (the typo is from the website)

3 – Genesee

4 – Finger Lakes

5 – Central

6a – Adirondack

6b – Catskill

7 – Taconic

8 – Palisades

9 – Long Island

10 – Thousand Islands

11 – Saratoga/Capital District

12 – New York City

There is no Mohawk Valley, no Adirondacks, and no Hudson Valley. APHNYS, the organization for municipal historians uses a 12-region division with numbers and not names that do not exactly match up with the others either. It appears that only New York City and Long Island are consistent regions. So besides the perennial game of where does Upstate begin and what is North Country we can add “What region are you in?” to the myriad of challenges designed to maximize the head spinning.

Names matter. The babel of regional names isn’t simply an issue of someone struggling to know what region he or she is depending on what issue is being addressed. Even besides that confusion, there is a tourist consideration. Part of tourism is branding. Names like the Palisades, the Hudson Valley, the Catskills, the Champlain Valley, the Mohawk Valley, the Finger Lakes mean something. No one says, “Let’s plan a vacation to central New York.” And while the Taconic Parkway exists in Westchester it is because the parkway goes to the Taconics, not because Westchester is in the Taconics. Branding helps promote tourism if used intelligently.

In any event, the history community needs to be aware that these Regional Economic Development Councils exist, that they offer one-stop shopping among a myriad of state agencies, that real money is involved, and they are the only serious opportunity to get money. These meetings are your chance to make a local connection and you should take advantage of them. Remember, by and large the business people on the Regional Economic Development Council don’t know who you are. I have been ceaselessly touting the need for collaboration especially at the county level among the Tourist Department, County Historian, and historic organizations. The Regional Economic Development Councils are one place where such partnerships might pay off in money if not this round then in setting the foundation for the next one. The potential path to money is through these Regional Economic Development Councils. Make the effort to find out what’s going on.

Adirondack Rail-Trail: Railway Preservation Society Responds

49511What follows is a press release issued by the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society in response to a decision by the state to reopen the plans for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad route, formerly part of the New York Central Railroad, through the Adirondacks. The state acted following activism by the group Adirodnack Recreational Trail Advocates who seek to have the rails torn up for a rail-trail.

The New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced on June 6th that the State will initiate a public process to review the Unit Management Plan for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor, part of the 141 miles of track on which the Adirondack Scenic Railroad operates.  Although the Railroad does not feel that revisiting the UMP is necessary in determining the future of the rail corridor, the Railroad remains confident that the State will once again determine the best use of this public asset is to maintain its designation as a multi-use corridor with a completed rail line and blended recreational and trail opportunities along the completed line. Continue reading

A Missing Element Of Upstate History Tourism

PhotographersNow that Memorial Day has passed and the summer tourism season is officially underway, it should be no surprise that the New York Times is full of articles about tourism. One article features Greece and the lure of the classical world for tourists. Greece has been experiencing a rocky road as of late but tourists are returning now that the situation appears to have stabilized.

Greece needs a shot in the arm from tourists given the plunge in the economy, so it would seem that the classically-named cities of upstate New York and the actual homeland of those cities have something in common. Continue reading

$60,000,000 History Questions For Andrew Cuomo

PathThroughHistorySomeone I know sent me an e-mail in response to my posts about the Path through History asking me “What do you think has motivated Cuomo to launch the $60 million tourism initiative?”

That is a big question and I don’t claim to be privy to the inner sanctum of the Albany decision-makers or to the workings of Cuomo’s mind.

What follows then is a speculation on my part. Continue reading

History Conferences: Neglected Tourism Revenue

54nytourismLast Saturday I attended the Native American Institute for the Hudson Valley’s conference on the Mohicans. The organization is based in Red Hook in Dutchess County. The New Netherland Museum and Replica Ship Half Moon provided support.

The conference included speakers, a walking tour to four sites all along Main Street, and a closing reception in a still-active colonial church. One of the speakers was from Canaan in Columbia County, and Albany, Kinderhook, Fort Ticonderoga, and New Stockbridge in Madison County figured prominently in the program. The border war between New York and Massachusetts in which the Mohicans became entangled was a constant topic.
Continue reading

Whaling and Abolition: A Sample Path Through History

whaleDiane Duprey, a retired social studies teacher now President Southeastern Council for the Social Studies, has created her own Path Through History. It includes many of the elements I’ve been advocating a path should include. It features multiple activities and sites including talks, walks, tours, and a cruise &#8211 a traditional favorite all combined in a multi-day program with lodging before the summer rates kick in.

Continue reading

New Yorks Historic Bridges Over Troubled Waters

546px-High_Bridge_jehThe High Bridge is scheduled to reopen. This bridge is not to be confused with the High Line in Manhattan which is not a bridge. The High Bridge is a closed pedestrian crossing connecting the Bronx and Manhattan. The 1200 foot span was built in 1848 and is the oldest bridge in the city. It was constructed as part of the Croton Aqueduct system which carried water from Westchester to New York City.

The Croton Aqueduct still functions in Westchester not as a water-carrying system but as an elongated trail somewhat paralleling the Hudson River from Croton to Yonkers. The Aqueduct has devoted followers and a friends group and always is being used by hikers, strollers, runners, and families. It forms a living thread uniting the communities of the county. Continue reading

Great Souvenirs From The 1939 Worlds Fair

Salt and pepper shaker, 1939. Plastic. Gift of Bella C. Landauer, 2002.1.1928

Salt and pepper shaker, 1939. Plastic. New-York Historical Society. Gift of Bella C. Landauer,

On April 29, 1939, the largest world’s fair of all time came to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in New York. The 1939-40 New York World’s Fair promised visitors a look at &#8220the world of tomorrow.&#8221 And part of that included cool souvenirs.

The Perisphere and the Trylon, known together as the &#8220Theme Center,&#8221 were two of the main draws of the 1939 World’s Fair. Connected to the Trylon’s spire was at the time the world’s longest escalator, and inside the Perisphere’s dome was a diorama called &#8220Democracity,&#8221 which depicted the city-of-the-future. But you could take these structures home as fun salt shakers! Continue reading

Community Narratives: The Importance of Story-Telling

Cheers historic Bar ShotWe are a story-telling species. Storytellers need an audience. Storytellers and the audience need a place to meet. The venue may vary, the technology may change, the message evolves, but somehow, in some way, we will tell stories. They define who we are as individuals and as members of something larger than ourselves, a family, a community, a county, a state, a country, or a religion.

How exactly would we celebrate Easter or Passover without a story to tell? Would we even celebrate them if there were no story?  With these thoughts in mind, I would like to turn to some examples of the importance of storytelling and community which I have noticed. Continue reading