IDA applying for $100K marketing grant

Digital marketing campaigned is eyed for matching funds money

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Industrial Development Agency board on Tuesday authorized an application to National Grid for a possible $100,000 matching grant to benefit Fulton County’s marketing campaign.

The IDA would serve as a pass-thru for the grant, of which the agency itself is not obligated.

“We would execute a real simple agreement,” IDA Executive Director James Mraz told the board at the Fort Johnstown Annex.

Mraz said the county Board of Supervisors will ultimately decide which non-profit will apply — the IDA or the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth. But he wanted the go-ahead from his board to apply if sanctioned by county supervisors.

Mraz said Fulton County is already dedicating a $100,000 in the county’s 2018 budget for marketing. He said there’s an opportunity through National Grid to try to match that money.

“There are two trends occurring in this county that we hope to address,” he said.

Mraz said those trends are that Fulton County’s population growth is “stagnant and getting older,” and the county’s labor force is “shrinking.” He said utilization of a digital marketing campaign is proposed using social media to market Fulton County’s assets. The hope is to attract people to come, live and work in the county.

What’s needed is a “long-term” marketing campaign that in part accentuates jobs now available, Mraz said.

“We’re going to talk about why it’s good to live here,” he said.

National Grid provides matching grants for these types of campaigns, Mraz told the board. Fulton County cannot directly apply, only a not-for-profit entity can such as the IDA or CRG. The utility recommended the IDA apply because it is more “independent” of the county , but the final decision is up to the Board of Supervisors.

Mraz said an application filed by the CRG would be “a little more involved.”

He noted the IDA in 2014 applied on behalf of the county for a successful National Grid grant to pay 50 percent of the county’s cost to hire New Jersey-based DCG Corplan to prepare a targeted industry analysis for the Tryon Technology Park.

But Mraz said this latest entire marketing effort may take awhile.

“We would envision this being a multi-year campaign, probably expanding two or three years,” he said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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