Assemblyman Scott Gray’s (R-Watertown) Minority Tourism Task Force made its fifth stop on Wednesday, August 16 in Howe Caverns and Cooperstown, hosted by Assemblyman Chris Tague (R,C-Schoharie). There, the task force met with local chambers of commerce, local government officials and local business leaders to discuss how the state can better aid in the local tourism industry and further support local economies.
“Thank you to Assemblyman Tague for hosting the fifth stop of the Minority Tourism Task Force in two prominent New York state destinations. Howe Caverns and the Baseball Hall of Fame were excellent hosts. Thank you to Senator Peter Oberacker for joining us as well,” Gray said. “The information we learned through discussions with local leaders and stakeholders will be used to shape legislation during the upcoming legislative session as well as enhance our negotiations when the budget hearings begin.”
“It was a pleasure to be able to showcase this beautiful district and what we have to offer while also giving our constituents the opportunity to tell us what they need. Thanks to this tour, we will be able to better generate policy based on the needs and wants of our residents,” said Tague.
“As I have been traveling around the state, I have noticed the following takeaways not only on this stop but on the majority of our visits thus far. The major takeaways from our stop in Howe Caverns and Cooperstown are:
- The housing issue has come full circle—local communities have advocated for a resolution to this issue as there is a dire need for more housing for residents as well as the seasonal workforce.
- The lack of upgraded infrastructure in this state is a major concern that was addressed. Broadband and CHIPS funding are needed. Major repairs and expansion throughout the state are essential.
- Marketing with the I Love New York program has been a major help to all local communities. The I Love New York programs need to be fully funded and the funds should be formulated to benefit and represent each individual community.
- The communities in the 102nd District would like for the counties to be looked at regionally when it comes to state funding programs related to tourism.
- The grant application process is too complicated, meaning money doesn’t come fast enough and projects aren’t adequately funded. In one instance, a town has been waiting four years for grant money to come in,” Gray concluded.