Pittsfield- Today, State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) and State Representative Daniel E. Bosley (D- North Adams) are pleased to announce that the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority has awarded nearly $70,000 in tourism grants to popular western Massachusetts destinations.
“Each year, western Massachusetts attracts many visitors with its world-class arts and cultural venues,” stated Downing. “This is a steadily growing industry and the support of these grants allows tourism to expand with the increasing demand to become a more stabilized industry. I am so pleased to see the MassPike support our cultural economy in this way.”
The Turnpike Tourism Grant Program was established by the Massachusetts Legislature and expanded in 1997 to include communities along the Massachusetts Turnpike east of Route 128. The grants support local tourism projects in cities and towns that the MassPike runs through, or communities that border those cities and towns. Tourism grants are awarded annually and this year, twenty-nine projects were awarded a total of $500,000 in grant funding.
Berkshire Visitor’s Bureau: $45,000
This funding will be used to help support the Berkshire Visitor’s Bureau’s ongoing efforts to promote the Berkshires and to conduct a multifaceted marketing campaign designed to draw Bostonians to the Berkshires.
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce: $5,000
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is an historic gem presenting live and film programs year-round. This grant will allow for active co-promotion of the Southern Berkshires and the Mahaiwe from Boston to Albany in print and radio media.
Sculpture Now: $3,000
Sculpture Now is a creative and innovative exhibition of 21 contemporary sculptures displayed throughout Main Street in Stockbridge, MA. The Turnpike Tourism grant will be used to assist with the coordination and production of the exhibit which includes a variety of works from developing and well established artists from around the world.
Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary: $3,400
Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Lenox, MA provides a learning center and matrix of nature trails where folks can hike, enjoy the natural landscape and possibly spot some protected animals indigenous to the area. This funding will help Pleasant Valley promote the use of their nature trails and the scenic nature of the Berkshires.
Jacob’s Ladder Tail Scenic Byway: $3,400
With its origins reaching back to Native American travel routes, Jacob’s Ladder Trail Scenic Byway is known as “The First of the Great Mountain Crossovers.” This historic 33-mile route stretches from the Village Green in Lee to Mount Tekoa in Russell and offers some of the most beautiful views of New England nature. The Turnpike Tourism grant will help support internet outreach initiatives to inform visitors and residents of Jacob’s Ladder’s rich tradition and of the historical sites that border the byway.
Community Involved With Sustaining Agriculture (CISA): $10,000
This organization links farmers with communities to strengthen and support agriculture in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties. This funding award will help CISA produce a map and guide to promote farmer’s markets, farm stands, pick-your-own, and other agritourism venues in western Massachusetts.
“The Berkshires attracts visitors every year to experience our recreational amenities and our cultural facilities. It is important to both our economy and our culture that we continue to attract people to our area to partake of these. The Turnpike grants are an important part of those efforts and we appreciate the grants and attention paid to our area by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority,” Bosley commented.
The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority is currently accepting grant proposals for tourism projects. The deadline for submission is September 14, 2007. To obtain an application for the next funding round, please contact Senator Downing’s office at (617) 722-1625 and one will be promptly forwarded.