Harford to begin accepting applications Jan. 22 for next round of tourism grants

The Aegis

Harford County government will begin accepting applications next week for the latest round of tourism grants available to local non-profit organizations promoting cultural and historical activities, museums, eco-tourism and sports tourism.

The application period opens Monday, Jan. 22, for the grants to be disbursed in the fiscal year 2019 cycle, beginning this July 1. The Harford County Office of Economic Development will hold workshops for funding applicants on February 8 and March 6. The application deadline is Friday, April 13, 2018, according to a county government news release.

The grants are funding through the 6 percent lodging tax Harford County began collecting in March 2015.

Funding awards are for operating or programmatic initiatives only, according to the news release. Eligibility is limited to 501(c)3 and 501(c)6 organizations whose programs or operations promote Harford County as a premier tourism destination and draw visitors from outside the county’s borders.

All applicants for fiscal year 2019 funding are encouraged to attend one of two application workshops.

The first workshop will be held at noon on Thursday, Feb. 8, in the County Council chambers at 212 S. Bond Street in Bel Air; snow date is Feb. 15. The second workshop will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6 at Harford County’s Economic Development Office, 2021 D Pulaski Highway in Havre de Grace.

Prior to attending a workshop, applicants should review the application form, available on the county website www.harfordcountymd.gov/oed by clicking on “Funding & Financial Services.” Paper copies will also be available at branches of Harford County Public Library.

For more information or to sign up for one of the workshops, please contact Traves White at 410-638-3059 or at tnwhite@harfordcountymd.gov.

The Harford County Economic Development Advisory Board’s Tourism Activity Review Committee (TARC) administers the program, reviews applications and makes award recommendations to the County Executive Barry Glassman, who makes the final decision on all grant awards.

Glassman initiated Harford County’s annual tourism-related award program in 2015, shortly after enactment of the lodging tax by the County Council, which Glassman sponsored.

According to the county news release, over the past three years, more than 30 organizations have received awards totaling more than $4.5 million for tourism-related activities.

Last June, Glassman awarded $1.5 million to 29 local organizations that included the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum, Bel Air Downtown Alliance, Boys and Girls Clubs of Harford County, the Liriodendron Foundation and the Harford County Farm Fair.

Included in the annual rounds of grants has been approximately $500,000 each time for Visit Harford!, a countywide non-profit tourism promotion agency that was established by Glassman’s administration.

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