Museum might apply for Schoharie County tourism aid

Situated closer to the Schoharie Creek than the county’s jail that got damaged by flooding in late A
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Situated closer to the Schoharie Creek than the county’s jail that got damaged by flooding in late August, the Schoharie Valley Railroad Museum is among numerous special places that could use some money.

The Depot Lane museum preserves the last remaining train car from the Middleburgh and Schoharie Railroad along with three others and presents scale models of the extinct rail line for more than 30 years.

And despite endless toil to clean up and put things back together over the past several months, it’s unclear yet if the museum will reach its goal of a May re-opening.

So for museum program director Jean Harra, a piece of a $25,000 pot of tourism grant money Schoharie County is offering is worth pursuing.

The Schoharie County Occupancy Tax Board is offering grants to nonprofit and for-profit organizations, clubs and others with the goal of promoting the economy, recreation and increasing overnight stays, according to a release from the county’s Planning and Development department.

The money comes from the county’s occupancy tax, commonly called a “bed tax,” that adds 4 percent to the bill at lodging establishments.

When the Occupancy Tax Board reviews applications due Feb. 28, they’ll put a priority on those that are able to bring guests in for overnight stays.

Other criteria that will help bring requests to the top of the pile include collaboration among businesses and organizations, good outreach and marketing plans, expected attendance and the ability to conduct an event in the absence of grant money.

Harra said it’s unclear yet if the Schoharie Valley Railroad Museum will try for some of the money, for the historical group has always taken care of itself.

“We have always raised our own money,” said Harra, who said church members and college students have been on the scene helping to gut the site’s five buildings and installing insulation.

But there’s a lot more work to be done, and she estimates it will cost about $50,000 to bring the tourist attraction back.

Categories: Schenectady County

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