Anyone who is applying for the myriad of funding opportunities through the agencies and departments of the state of New York State is busily completing the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council. The applications need to be posted on the web by Monday, August 13. So, for most all of us in this boat, its crunch time.
Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Franklin County along with several agencies, organizations, and key community leaders, is currently assisting with research and composition of three CFA”s. One with the County Tourism office, another with Paul Smith’s College and a third with North Country Community College (NCCC).
The County Tourism application is for improved marketing tools to increase tourist numbers in the county. “Look, Stop, Stay and Learn in Franklin County” will promote new and existing events and attractions including the Wild Center, Paul Smiths College Visitors Interpretive Center and the Almanzo Wilder Farm as well as restaurants, lodging facilities, wineries and other venues. This will enhance existing attractions, increase attendance and promote new development of tourism activities in the county. This project will focus on agritourism, cultural, heritage, culinary tourism, and recreation and in the county. Funding will be used to update websites and tie to social media, create a tourist “passport” incentive program, and develop new maps, brochures and other destination literature. This application will benefit the county by connecting the northern and southern parts of the county, increase job creation, encourage economic development, improve attraction attendance and encourage improvements of existing attractions.
The Agri-business Development Kitchen (ADK) at the Paul Smith’s VIC will provide farmers and small entrepreneurial businesses with a value added processing facility and supplemental support in the areas of business planning, product development, and marketing. The ADK will provide significant resources to the regional population which will assist in generating and keeping wealth in the region. The completion of the ADK through the grant process will contribute to a rising number of resources for small-scale farmers and local food entrepreneurs in underserved Franklin County.
The NCCC needs to expand its existing operations in Malone to meet increasing enrollment and provide new curriculum offerings. Using a series of partnerships with private sector developers, the expansion is a multi-phase, multi-year project that will refurbish and renovate existing vacant structures in the heart of the village. Student housing expansion, classrooms, offices, student services and amenities, and an expanded fine arts classroom and laboratory are planned as well as a controlled environment agriculture incubator space for year round applied learning operations.
CCE is an active participant in all three ventures because of our role in economic development; the great potential of agritourism to the region’s farmers and businesses and its positive impact on the county; and our role in farm business plan development, food safety, and the growth in local food systems. The return on investment in all three projects is time well spent. More importantly, CCE’s future efforts with any or all of the resulting awards of funding is both exciting and challenging.
Yes, its crunch time. The deadline is looming. But the research is complete, the data collected, the questions answered and the narratives written. The final uploads are in process and the applications will await review. And we will await the final determinations.