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Harford executive awards $1.5 million in tourism grants to local non-profits

The foundation that operates Liriodendron mansion in Bel Air will receive $67,000 under the latest round of tourism grants approved by County Executive Barry Glassman. About $1.5 million will be given to local non-profits from revenue generated by the county's 6 percent lodging tax.
The foundation that operates Liriodendron mansion in Bel Air will receive $67,000 under the latest round of tourism grants approved by County Executive Barry Glassman. About $1.5 million will be given to local non-profits from revenue generated by the county's 6 percent lodging tax. (Lloyd Fox / The Baltimore Sun)

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman has announced that 31 local nonprofits will receive grants from his administration totaling nearly $1.5 million to promote tourism and related activities in the county.

In its second year, the county's tourism grant program makes awards based on a competitive application process with funding from revenue generated by a 6 percent hotel lodging tax implemented in March 2015.

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There were 44 applications received for grants in the 2017 fiscal year that begins July 1, Cindy Mumby, a county government spokesperson, said. The county's projected revenue from the lodging tax is $2.3 million, she said, about the same as for fiscal 2016.

The 31 organizations receiving competitive grant funding totaling $1,495,500 are:

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• APG Centennial Celebration Association, Inc., $40,000, operations and program support for planning the community centennial celebration of Aberdeen Proving Ground;

• Ballet Chesapeake, $3,000, operating expenses; Bel Air Downtown Alliance, Inc., $31,750, operational support for BBQ Bash, branded marketing for Bel Air Armory and strategic business recruitment program;

• Bel Air Independence Day Committee, $5,000, operational support of parade activities;

• Boys & Girls Club Harford County, $37,500, seasonal haunted attraction;

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• Center for the Arts, $50,000, operational support toward staff and integrated marketing;

• Chesapeake Heritage Conservancy, $15,000, Skipjack Martha Lewis program;

• Concord Point Lighthouse, $18,000, salary support and data tracking;

• Darlington Apple Festival; $25,000, operational and logistic support of Apple Festival;

• Edgewood-Joppatowne Parade Committee, $5,000, operational support for parade activities;

• Friends of Jerusalem Mill, $15,000, program support for year round living history events;

• Harford Artist's Association, $5,000, operational support of new downtown gallery location and outreach;

• Harford Historical Society, $37,000 toward general operating costs and analysis of collections;

• Harford County Farm Fair, Inc.; $37,000, contracted services for shuttle buses and to lease two-way radios for Farm Fair;

• Harford Community College Foundation, $35,000 to promote extended stay market for APGFCU Arena;

• Harford County Izaak Walton League of America, $5,000 to support operating expenses of Bel Air Gun Show;

• Havre de Grace Alliance, Inc., $40,000, salary support for executive director;

• Havre de Grace Decoy Museum, $80,000, operational support for decoy museum;

• Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, $40,000, museum's general operating funds;

• Highland Community, Inc., $50,000, operating funds to expand outreach in Mason Dixon region;

• Hosanna Community House, $43,000, sesquicentennial celebration of Hosanna School, McComas Institute and historical bus tours;

• Ladew Topiary Gardens, $50,000, operating funds and visitor services study;

• Liriodendron, $67,000, operational funds and outreach;

• Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway, Inc., $50,000, operation funds to support Lower Susquehanna Segment Implementation Plan and Heritage Area marketing;

• Rockfield Manor, $41,250, operating funds to support Harford County Wine Festival and market outreach;

• Soroptimist International of Havre de Grace, $5,000 to support Havre de Grace Art Show;

• Steppingstone Museum, $50,000, operating funds to focus on "living museum" through the ongoing preservation of the historic trades and folk arts;

• Susquehannock Wildlife Society, $55,000 to support staffing and eco-tourism efforts;

• Susquehanna Lockhouse Museum, $40,000 to support staffing and operations;

• Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra, $20,000 for operating funds;

• Visit Harford, $500,000, general operating costs and marketing outreach.

In addition to the competitive grants, $250,000 dedicated for marketing agriculture and ag-tourism is funded in fiscal year 2017 by revenue from the hotel tax. Prior to FY16, this was funded by general fund revenue.

The one-year competitive grants are used to plan and execute a variety of tourism-related activities, including historical, cultural, agricultural, heritage, ecological and sports tourism.

"By strengthening activities that draw visitors into the county, the program initiated by the Glassman administration seeks to grow tourism and enhance local business activity," a news release announcing the grants states.

The competitive grant application period ran from Jan. 19 to April 15 through the Harford County Office of Economic Development, offering 501c3 and 501c6 organizations the opportunity to apply for funding.

With oversight from the Harford County Economic Development Advisory Board, applications were reviewed by the Tourism Activity Review Committee (TARC), which makes the program's funding recommendations to the county executive.

Award recipients are required to submit quarterly reports to ensure accountability throughout the funding year.

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