Thursday, July 22, 2004
House approves $20 million for valley heritage
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
- 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
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Valley is filled with historic sites, and magnificent views.
Take some time for a Vest Pocket
Tour and experience this National Heritage Area.