We have spent the last 4 years fighting our way back from the brink of bankruptcy. We have paid off the $138 million deficit, that existed when I took office, much faster than anyone thought possible. The renaissance of Rockland County is well underway.
Today we take our next steps to continue improving and enriching life in our community. Thanks to the efforts of Lucy Redzeposki, our Director of Tourism and Economic Growth, 21 nonprofit Rockland organizations are receiving a total of $215,115 in tourism grants.
That’s $15,000 more than we received last year so clearly, we are going in the right direction. These funds are going to organizations that bring arts, music, theater and culture into Rockland County.
They include such groups as Rockland Center for the Arts, Garner Arts Center, Edward Hopper House, Haverstraw River Arts, the Historical Society of Rockland County, the Penguin Players, United Latin Festival of Haverstraw, the Rockland Bergen Music Festival and so many others.
Funding is also being awarded to Visit Nyack and the Chambers of Commerce in Suffern and Nanuet. Groups that work to bring people into the community. It’s not just about enriching our community with festivals, theater and art. It’s about bringing visitors and the money they spend into Rockland.
We want people to come here, spend the day in downtown Nyack or Suffern, go to the Haverstraw River Arts Festival, go to a theater performance. While they are here they can eat at our restaurants, shop in our stores and find other ways to spend money. Money that will fuel our renaissance.
If not for tourism generated sales and local taxes the average household in Rockland would have to pay an additional $555 in yearly taxes to maintain current services. That is a lot of money saved thanks to the efforts of Lucy Redzeposki.
When I took office, I vowed to make tourism a priority in my administration. I made good on that pledge by bringing Lucy on board to reinvent and reinvigorate our tourism and filming efforts.
The tourism funds we announced come from a combination of county money and from the statewide I Love New York program. These are competitive grants; a set of performance expectations are attached to every dollar given to these nonprofits.
We have every confidence that the organizations receiving this funding will use it to bring tourists here to see all that Rockland has to offer. Our music, theater, art, riverfronts and downtowns will keep them coming back.
That is the way forward. That is the mission of government, to create an environment where businesses thrive and jobs are created. Congratulations to the organizations who have won these awards, we know you will do us proud with your efforts.