Harford awards $1.5 million in tourism grants

The Aegis

Harford County government has announced its latest round of grants to local non-profit organizations to promote tourism related activities in the county.

This is the third year for the grants, which are funded through the 6 percent lodging tax the county began collecting in March 2015. The grants cover the 2018 fiscal year beginning July 1.

In a news release, County Executive Barry Glassman announced that 29 local nonprofits will receive a total of $1.5 million in funding to plan and implement a variety of tourism related activities including historical, cultural, agricultural, heritage and eco-tourism operations.

The grants are funded competitively to spur economic activity and promote attractions enjoyed by visitors and Harford County citizens alike,the news release states.

"I am committed to moving Harford County forward as a premier tourism destination and supporting opportunities that enhance our quality of life," Glassman said in a statement. "My administration's competitive award process provides accountability for how funds are used while assisting nonprofits in sustaining and enhancing tourism-related programs and activities. This funding also indirectly boosts local businesses, including restaurants and shops, when visitors come to Harford County."

According to the news release, the 14-week competitive funding application process ran from Jan. 23 to April 15, offering 501c3 and 501c6 organizations the opportunity to apply for funding.

The Harford County Office of Economic Development held informational workshops in February and March to offer assistance in completing the application, to discuss projects and to answer questions from interested organizations.

The workshops focused on three critical requirements that enhanced eligibility for an organization: good standing as a 501c3 or 501c6 with the state of Maryland; ability of the organization's program or activity to draw visitors from outside the borders of Harford County; and "but for these funds," the program or activity could not be implemented or executed successfully. The Harford County Economic Development Advisory Board reviewed applications and made recommendations to the county executive for final approval.

Funding recipients have received a notification letter from Glassman announcing their award amount. An award package from the Office of Economic Development will follow with guidelines for executing a memorandum of agreement, quarterly performance and budget reporting templates and procedures for receiving funding. Once packet materials are fully executed, funds will be made available after the fiscal year begins.

Organizations receiving funds are:

APG Centennial Celebration Association, $40,000 for APG's 100th anniversary, museum concept planning;

Bel Air Downtown Alliance, $45,000 for operations, continued market study implementation;

Bel Air Recreation Committee, $8,500 toward marketing efforts for Bel Air Arts Show;

Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County, $37,500 for operations to expand Haunted Trail;

Chesapeake Heritage Conservancy, $15,000 for operations, marketing for Skipjack Martha Lewis;

Darlington Apple Festival, $25,000 for event operations;

Friends of Jerusalem Mill, $10,000 for operations and outreach;

Harford County Chapter Izaak Walton League of America, $4,000 for Bel Air Gun Show;

Harford County Farm Fair, $45,000 for operations for expanded fair, anniversary year;

Havre de Grace Alliance, $38,000 for operations;

Havre de Grace Arts Collective, $15,000 for operational support;

Havre de Grace Decoy Museum, $80,000 for operations and outreach;

Highland Community Association, $50,000 for operations and outreach;

Maryland Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, $50,000 for operations and outreach;

Rockfield Foundation, $25,000 for operations and outreach;

Soroptimist International of Havre de Grace, $5,000 for Havre de Grace Arts Show;

Steppingstone Museum Association, $50,000 for operations and programs;

Susquehanna Museum of Havre de Grace, $35,000 for Lockhouse operations;

Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra, $25,000 for operations and outreach;

Susquehannock Wildlife Society, $55,000 for operations;

The Friends of Concord Point Lighthouse, $18,000 for operations;

The Harford Artists' Association, $4,000 for operations and outreach;

The Harford Community College Foundation, $35,000 for expanded event marketing of arena;

The Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, $35,000 for operations;

The Historical Society of Harford County, $40,000 for operations;

The Hosanna Community House, $45,000 for operations; anniversary year;

The Liriodendron Foundation, $70,000 for operations and outreach;

The Trustees of The Ladew Topiary Gardens, $55,000 for operations and outreach;

Visit Harford!, $540,000 for operations and outreach.

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