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Community Heritage

Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area

   

Hudson River Poughkeepsie Journal
Thursday, July 22, 2004

House approves $20 million for valley heritage area
By Dan Shapley

The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area would qualify for as much as $20 million from the federal government and have another 15 years to spend it, under a bill that passed the House of Representatives Tuesday.

Spending appropriations for the program are now capped at $10 million and must be spent by 2012. So far, $4 million has been authorized since the Hudson was designated a National Heritage Area by President Bill Clinton in 1996.

The National Heritage Area program is meant to recognize, preserve and promote the cultural and natural resources of the Hudson Valley. The Hudson is one of 24 regions designated in the nation.

''We have taken significant steps forward this year in promoting, organizing and implementing the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area program and this support from Congress will help energize us to keep moving ahead to make the Hudson River Valley an international tourism destination,'' said Carmella Mantello, executive director of the Hudson River Valley program.

Among the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area program's recent activities:

- Organizing events with partners to commemorate the 225th anniversary of the American Revolution and creating a brochure of the Revolutionary War battle sites in the valley.

- Launching a Web site with information about the area's historic sites.

- Completing a study that showed tourists at Hudson Valley historic sites contribute upwards of $600 million to the economy.

- Granting Hudson Valley schools $52,600 for educational programs related to the Hudson River.

The program also organizes the annual Hudson River Valley Ramble in September, which hosts thousands of residents and tourists at trails and historic sites in the valley.

U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, who authored the bill to make the Hudson a heritage area in 1994, and U.S. Rep. John Sweeney, R-Clifton Park, both lobbied to restore funding for the program, which the House Resources Committee had cut. Gov. George Pataki also praised the effort.

''The Hudson River National Heritage Area is an important instrument in protecting and promoting the culture and significance of the Hudson Valley and for attracting visitors from New York and across the country,'' Sweeney said.

A similar bill has not passed the Senate, where there is some opposition to the program's expansion and the omnibus spending plan of which it is a part.

Dan Shapley can be reached at dshapley@poughkeepsiejournal.com

The Valley is filled with historic sites, and magnificent views. Take some time for a Vest Pocket Tour and experience this National Heritage Area.

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