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Concord Grape Heritage Assoc. Receives Grant

July 24, 2008
Westfield Republican
Governor David Paterson announced the award of $24.9 million in grants from the State Environmental Protection Fund’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) for 97 projects across New York State, including $75,000 to the Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association.

“Across New York State, communities have recognized that their waterfronts can be the foundation for economic revitalization and improving quality of life,” said Governor Paterson. “These funds will allow communities to connect New York residents to the waterfront, particularly in distressed urban neighborhoods where waterfront access is in short supply. I look forward to more New York communities having the opportunity to celebrate the many environmental, cultural and economic benefits that waterfronts provide.”

The Town of Westfield, in partnership with the Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association, will use this grant to prepare a Heritage Area Management Plan for the group.

“The group has been very active and really does a lot for this area,” Town Supervisor Martha Bills has said of the group.

The Concord Grape Belt Heritage Area was designated in Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Law in 2006. The region, running 50 miles along the eastern shore of Lake Erie, is one of the largest concord grape growing and juice processing areas in the nation. It is the 19th heritage area in the state and the first agricultural region to receive such a designation.

The main goal of the Association, established in 2004, is to bring greater recognition and tourism to their region by promoting their agricultural heritage and small town life.

“In a relatively short period of time, they have developed a significant track record and substantial backing for their work,” Bills said.

The Association has studied and released reports on the economic impact of the grape industry on the area, including juice and wine production, jobs created and tourism. In order to continue doing these kinds of studies and putting them to use, the Association needs to have a management plan and the funds to put it into action. They are seeking a grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to do just that.

The management plan will provide recognition to significant historic, cultural and natural resources, engender new partnerships among the participating municipalities, and provide opportunities for sustainable economic development sensitive to the heritage resources of the area, according to Bills.

The grants cover a variety of planning, design and construction projects that focus on economic, community, environmental and recreational improvements, reinforcing Governor Paterson’s commitment to revitalizing communities and enhancing the environment.

 
 

 

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