YORK, PA – The York County Tourism Grant Committee approved $1,068,566 in total funding for 25 projects or events submitted earlier this year during the first round of the York County Tourism Grant Program for 2023. This grant program builds upon York County’s billion-dollar tourism industry and awards funding to projects and events that attract visitors outside a 50-mile radius of York County, enhance the visitor experience, and create positive economic impact through overnight hotel stays.
The Explore York Board of Directors ratified these applications on May 4, 2023.
“The committee processed 40 applications for a total of $2,209,556 in grant funding requests. The selected events and projects have the potential to increase the economic impact and draw tourists into all corners of York County,” said Laura Wagner, President of Explore York. “These selected grants continue our mission of strengthening tourism in York County, which is so vital post-COVID, and increasing equity, inclusion, and opportunity in our communities.” The committee has awarded more than $5 million in funding since the grant program's inception in 2017.
The following round one grants were awarded:
- American Junior Golf Association ($35,000) – Assisting with AJGA tournament expenses; pre-tournament event to engage local golfers and proceeds to benefit York County Black Golfers Association.
- Civil War Trails Inc. ($36,000) – Expansion of Civil War Trails in York County (12 additional sites).
- Crispus Attucks Association of Pennsylvania ($10,740) – Support for monthly, two-day events for five months at the Goodridge Freedom Center celebrating early African-American photographers.
- Dover Township Parks & Recreation ($10,000) – Facility rental and marketing of White Rose Classic Drum & Bugle Corps Show, part of the Drum Corps International Open Class competition schedule.
- Downtown Inc ($90,000) – Update vehicular and pedestrian wayfinding signage (new and existing) throughout Downtown York City, creating value to the visitor experience.'
- Eichelberger Performing Arts Center ($60,000) – Marketing to tourists and to build partnerships with local hospitality businesses during 25th Anniversary Celebration Series.
- Hanover Chamber of Commerce ($34,000) – Production of Discover Hanover magazine and rack cards, participation in Getaways on Display brochure distribution program, and website redesign.
- Keystone State Games ($15,000) – Event costs for the KSG Fencing Competition, a two-day competition to be held in July 2023.
- Northern Central Railway of York ($41,650) – Expanded marketing tactics to reach Maryland markets.
- Panthers Select Softball ($13,875) – Placement of two digital scoreboards at Crist Fields that will increase capacity for high-level, high-impact tournaments.
- Susquehanna Heritage Corp. ($15,000) – Marketing the Chief Uncas boat rides through Getaways on Display brochure distribution program, feature ads in Recreation News PA, and billboards.
- Susquehanna Heritage Corp. ($50,000) -- Public access improvements to Susquehanna Discovery Center, an important Underground Railroad stop and Civil War attraction in York County.
- The Bodhana Group, Inc. ($60,000) – Funding to produce the Save Against Fear Gaming Conference/Convention in November 2023 and 2024.
- Vision Solutions AR ($50,000) – Software and content development plus location scanning to create an augmented reality map for tourism attractions.
- Tyrant Wrestling ($75,000) – Venue, equipment rentals, marketing, and hospitality for the U.S. Folkstyle National Championships in September 2023.
- White Rose Figure Skating Club ($20,000) – Ice facility rental, transportation, and hospitality for the White Rose Invitational event to be held in June 2023.
- White Rose Pickleball Association ($25,000) – Construction of a pavilion and bathroom in Veterans Memorial Park, needed to host tournaments for the rapidly growing sport of pickleball.
- Working Progress ($17,800) – Marketing and promotion of Yorkfest to southern Maryland and northern Virginia; the relaunched Yorkfest will kick off York Arts Week in August 2023.
- YMCA of the Roses ($35,302) – Acquisition and installation of a new digital display scoreboard at the Graham Aquatic Center; upgrades keep the facility competitive as a sports tourism venue.
- Explore York ($16,199) – Bringing the Accent East tourism conference to York County in October 2024 and organizing a familiarization tour to showcase York County attractions to group tour organizers.
- York County History Center ($80,000) – Creation and installation of an interactive asset map of historically and culturally significant York County sites, to be located in the new Steam Plant museum.
- York County Rail Trail Authority ($110,000) – Creation of a 1.36-mile section of recreational, multi-use trail in Jackson Township, with signage, plus groundbreaking and ribbon cutting ceremonies.
- York County Sheriff’s Office ($20,000) – Support for 2024 PA Sheriff’s Association Conference in July 2024; organizers plan to showcase York County diversity in hospitality suite and vendor choices.
- Made Hoops LLC ($73,000) – To host the Marquee Hoops Session 3 tournament in May 2023.*
- Gran Fondo New York ($75,000) – To host an international cycling competition in September 2023.*
*These grants were ratified at the April 12, 2023, board meeting.
The 2023 round one application window closed February 15, 2023. Round one applicants had no maximum request cap, require a 25 percent cash or in-kind match, and must provide post-grant reports no later than 90 days following project completion.
American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds are being distributed throughout this cycle. To be eligible for ARPA funding, the organization must be York County based, in business prior to March 2020, and suffered negative impacts from the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent containment measures.
The next window for grant applications opens June 1, 2023. There is no minimum request for this round; maximum request is $20,000. When timely opportunities arise, the Grant Committee entertains funding requests outside of the program’s regular schedule.
The York County Tourism Grant Committee for this round was comprised of Eric Menzer, President and General Manager of the York Revolution, State Representative Kate Klunk, York County Economic Alliance President and CEO Kevin Schreiber, RKL Partner and Explore York Board Treasurer Rob Berkebile, Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce President Gary Laird, York County Register of Wills & Clerk of Orphans’ Court Bryan Tate, and York County Chief Financial Officer Tyler Chronister.
Additional program requirements and restrictions are listed here. Questions about the application process may be directed to Elizabeth Waite, Grant Program Manager at Explore York, Elizabeth@YorkPA.org or 717-852-9675, ext. 113.
Explore York’s mission is to maximize tourism expenditures and their economic impact in York County, PA, through comprehensive tourism sales and marketing programs. Explore York’s vision is for a York County where tourism is recognized for the value of its economic impact and its role in raising the profile of York County as a sought-after destination. For more information on Explore York and the Destination Brand, call 1-888-858-9675 or visit YorkPA.org.
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