The state will spend $1 million to jumpstart 10 regional heritage-tourism marketing plans as part of its “Path Through History” project, a roadmap of historically and culturally significant sites, locations and events in New York. New road signs will be installed on major state highways to promote the sites, and a new website will provide additional information about the locations.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who announced the initiative yesterday, said the Path Through History will help promote tourism and economic development across the state. Heritage tourism has a $5 billion annual impact on the state’s economy, he said. Signs in the Lower Hudson Valley will include one for Elisha Otis, a Yonkers resident who developed the first passenger-safe elevator in 1852; one for John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s 1935 contribution of 60 percent of the land needed for the Palisades Parkway; and one at Boscobel in Garrison about British forces occupying New York City and the Lower Hudson Valley in 1776.
“The Path Through History will highlight the rich history that exists in New York State by showcasing more than 200 hundred of our most significant sites and historic milestones,” Cuomo said in a statement. “From Mark Twain writing Huckleberry Finn in Elmira to John Coltrane’s one of a kind jazz being played on Long Island, we have done and see it all in New York and now we are putting our state’s heritage on display for the world to enjoy.”
Regional workshops, in partnership with New York’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils, will receive $100,000 grants for marketing, planning and promotional activities for museums, historic sites and other cultural institutions. The work groups will coordinate their efforts with local tourism entities.
More than 200 “Path Through History” signs highlighting significant moments in state and American history will be situated between exits of major state roads. “Path Through History” attraction signs will be placed at exits to direct motorists to the sites.
Cuomo created a task force in March to advise the state and Thruway Authority on the initiative. The Historic Corridor Task Force was co-chaired by Mark Schaming, director of the State Museum, and Harold Holzer, senior vice president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Among the other members were Lisa Keller, professor of history, urban and women’s studies at the State University of New York at Purchase. The task force worked with the governor’s office and regional workshop members to create the tourism plans.