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Grant helps local tourism

State providing $100K to region, planning new signs

August 30, 2012
By JOHN BORGOLINI , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - The Mohawk Valley region - including Fulton and Montgomery counties - will receive a $100,000 state grant to market tourism.

In addition, the state will place new signs on major highways to draw motorists' attention to area historic sites.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week announced the Path Through History project, which will provide a total of $1 million to 10 regions in the state to market tourism.

Article Photos

A?man dressed in 18th-century attire walks to Johnson Hall in Johnstown during an event last year. The state will post new signs on highways in an effort to attract more tourists to Johnson Hall.
File photo

The Mohawk Valley's portion will be handled by the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council.

The Mohawk Valley representatives have not yet decided what to do with the $100,000, officials said.

In addition, the Path Through History program will highlight the area's history by showcasing "more than 200 of our most significant sites and historic milestones," Cuomo said in a news release.

Some of the more than 200 signs will be placed on the state Thruway, but Mohawk Valley representative Wally Hart said sites in Fulton and Montgomery counties most likely will not be advertised with signs on the Thruway because of their distance from the highway.

He said he expects the signs to be placed on state highways such as Routes 5, 30 and 29A.

Among the signs will be ones advertising Old Fort Johnson, Schoharie Crossing, Johnson Hall, the National Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine, the Mohawk Caughnawaga Indian Museum, Fort Klock, the Palatine Settlement Society and the Arkell Museum.

"There are certain restrictions," Hart said. "Johnson Hall doesn't meet the mileage limit to the Thruway. We don't want to just tell people there's a great site to visit and not give them directions. You have to give them very specific signage, and it has to go through the [Department of Transportation]."

The themes of the signs in the statewide project include: arts and culture, civil rights, colonial history, innovation and commerce, Native Americans, natural history, the Revolution, sports history, U.S. presidents, the War of 1812 and women's rights.

In deciding how to market local tourism, Hart said the Mohawk Valley representatives will look at many sites, including Johnson Hall, the Fulton County Courthouse, Fort Johnson, the Fulton County Jail, the Drumm House and the Riceville Homestead.

Gina DaBiere-Gibbs, tourism director for the Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said she hopes the state effort will attract tourists and increase business in the area.

"They want to tell the story of New York and bring history alive again in this state - the different things that happened, when they happened and the influence it had in the area," DaBiere-Gibbs said. "Our group discussed that once we get the heritage traveler, they like to visit the other entities in the area as well. Hopefully, this will bring more people into Fulton County and the Mohawk Valley region."

The state initiative is designed to raise the profile of New York state's network of museums, historic sites and other cultural institutions.

Heritage tourism has a $5 billion effect on New York's economy per year, the governor said in the news release.



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