SCHENECTADY COUNTY — From the Freedom Park concert series next to the Mohawk River in Scotia to the Sunday tours of historic Vale Cemetery, Schenectady County will be putting money into events that attract people to the county.
The County Legislature has approved $60,000 in 2019 funding for 39 organizations or events, using money from the county's hotel/motel bed tax revenue.
"Schenectady County is so lucky to have such a vibrant arts community and we're proud to once again provide a record level of support to these worthy organizations, all at no cost no county taxpayers," said county Tourism, Arts and Special Events Committee Chairwoman Cathy Gatta, D-Glenville.
This is the second year the county has awarded $60,000. The amount was increased last year as the county saw the opening of several new hotels, including three in the vicinity of the Rivers Casino Resort and Mohawk Harbor, increasing the county's bed tax revenue.
The funding is used to support events that promote tourism, the arts, or historic preservation. They awards were given through a competitive process in which a community review panel graded the applications on artistic merit, feasibility, and the perceived public benefit.
The largest single award was $4,000 to support various festivals held by the Schenectady County Historical Society, which in addition to its museum on the Stockade owns and maintains the Mabee Farm property in Rotterdam, where a number of annual events are held.
The county also awarded $3,500 grants to the annual Kids Art Festival and to the annual Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom, which marks the June day that the last slaves were notified of their freedom in the wake of the Civil War.
Money also goes to such well-known events as the annual Schenectady holiday parade, Jazz on Jay, the Freedom Park concert series, the Greenmarket music series, the Little Italy Street Festival, and Glenville's Oktoberfest.
"These events, attended by county residents and visitors from throughout the region, are part of what makes Schenectady County a great place to live, raise a family, and visit over and over again," Gatta said.