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Rockland County Awards 29 Organizations With $278,000 In Tourism Grants

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County Upping Commitment To Generating Tourism Dollars; In Process Of Hiring Alon Marketing Group To Deepen Tourism Efforts

By Tina Traster

Things are looking up for Rockland County organizations and businesses that bring tourists to the county.

The county on Monday awarded 29 organizations with $278,000 in tourism grants, more than a 30 percent increase in funding over the pre-pandemic 2019 awards, and the highest total since the county began handing out tourism grants in 2016.

The grants provide businesses and organizations funding to promote upcoming events to visitors outside of Rockland.

“This is one of my favorite days of the year,” said Lucy Redzeposki, Director of Economic Development and Tourism for Rockland County, speaking to grantees at the RCC Hospitality Center in Nyack, which houses the Explore Rockland Nyack Visitors Center. “Who wouldn’t be happy giving out money to people like you?”

Grantees included cultural institutions, Chambers of Commerce, the Rockland Farm Alliance, the Friends of Harmony Hall – Jacob Sloat House, and Visit Nyack, which snagged the largest award of $25,000.

“This is the largest amount in history to the most organizations that we have ever funded,” said Redzeposki, who spoke at length about the county’s commitment over the past eight years to boost organizations that bring tourists to the county. She spoke emphatically about deepening efforts to groom tourism entities to operate at a higher level in 2023 and beyond.

The county is in the process of hiring the Alon Marketing Group of Farmingdale, NY for one year for $95,456 to coach Rockland’s tourism’s assets to work more collaboratively to create county-wide tourism itineraries and to educate stakeholders on the tourist trade.

The tourism director said the county will be holding training sessions so tourist attractions can maximize the experience for visitors. She said Rockland County will be targeting Canadian tourism, as well as focusing on luring tourists in New York City to come to Rockland County to “experience Americana.”

“We want to work together so tourists come to not one location and leave, but to many,” she said. “And that they have a good experience and come back again.”

Redzeposki also announced that she has stepped in as president of the Hudson Valley Tourism Inc., which represents tourism regionally in the Hudson Valley.

“We want to make sure that Rockland County is well represented,” she said. “That has not always happened.”

Emerging from COVID in 2022, grants handed out totaled $205,000 to 22 recipients compared to pre-Covid funding in 2019 of $211,000. In 2016, granting hovered at around $100,000.

County Executive Ed Day said tourism is part of the life blood of Rockland County’s economy.

“When visitors explore our downtowns, restaurants, or shop in our stores, they’re not just fueling our economy, they are stabilizing taxes for our residents.”

Without tourism dollars, Day said, the typical taxpayers would have to pay an additional $566 in yearly taxes.

Among the 29 grant recipients were cultural organizations like Edward Hopper House Museum, Garner Arts Center, Haverstraw Brick Museum, Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education. Chambers of Commerce that received grants were the Greater Nanuet Chamber of Commerce, Greater Suffern Chamber of Commerce, North Rockland Chamber of Commerce, Piermont Chamber of Commerce, and the Sloatsburg Chamber of Commerce.

The Phoenix Theater Ensemble, which brought a debut month-long theater festival to Nyack last autumn, received a $10,000 grant.

And the Rockland Farm Alliance, which has grown its program and become vital to preserving open space and farming, raked in $9,000.

Visit Nyack, which runs advertising campaigns to promote tourism outside the county, was again the largest grantee with a $25,000 award. The organization won the same amount last year. In 2020 it had received $50,000.

Visit Nyack will continue to use grant money to fund a multi-year advertising campaign that brings tourists from the metro area and surrounding counties.

“Visit Nyack is very pleased to receive again this generous grant from the Rockland Department of Economic Development and Tourism,” said Thomas Schneck, president of Visit Nyack. “This award allows us to execute our planned spring, fall and winter campaigns – which include radio, print and social media ads as well as posters in the New York City subway stations – to attract guests and visitors from the Tri-State Area.”

List of Grantees:

ArtsRock $9,000
Edward Hopper House Museum $10,000
Friends of Harmony Hall – Jacob Sloat House $15,000
Garner Arts Center $17,000
Greater Nanuet Chamber of Commerce $15,000
Greater Suffern Chamber of Commerce $10,000
Haverstraw Brick Museum $5,000
Haverstraw Riverwide Arts $10,000
Historical Society of Rockland County $5,000
Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education $10,000
India Cultural Society of Rockland $5,000
JCC Rockland $7,500
New York Boulders $15,000
North Rockland Chamber of Commerce $5,000
Penguin Rep Theater $17,000
Phoenix Theatre Ensemble $10,000
Piermont Chamber of Commerce $10,000
RCC Hospitality & Culinary Arts Center $10,000
Rockland Center for the Arts $10,000
Rockland County Police Emerald Society $2,000
Rockland County Pride Center $4,000
Rockland Farm Alliance $9,000
Rockland Fashion Week $5,000
Sons of Italy $5,000
Rockland Rowing Association $5,000
Sloatsburg Chamber of Commerce $15,000
The Angel Nyack $5,000
United Latin Festival $8,000
Visit Nyack $25,000