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Jefferson County organizations awarded funding for tourism-related projects

By Eric Reinhardt (


WATERTOWN, N.Y. — The Henderson Harbor Performing Arts Association and Watertown First will use a total of $10,000 in grant funding for a pair of community projects aimed at strengthening local tourist destinations.

The Jefferson Economic Development Fund of the Northern New York Community Foundation awarded the money, the foundation said.

The Henderson Harbor Performing Arts Association will use a $5,000 award to support a feasibility study to examine the potential for community enhancements in arts and culture, specifically, the development of the Mark Hopkins Inn site for a performing-arts venue.

The arts association is collaborating with a seasonal resident and longtime professional affiliated with performing arts in Central New York to determine the feasibility of this infrastructure project, the Northern New York Community Foundation said. The Henderson Harbor Performing Arts Association is also working with the Town of Henderson and the Henderson Business & Community Council to create a performing arts tourist destination that could strengthen economic development in Southern Jefferson County’s six-town region.

Watertown First will also use a $5,000 grant to collaborate with local media and downtown businesses to develop a marketing campaign and targeted outreach to build awareness of the local economy. Efforts are designed to attract tourism and revitalize activity in Watertown’s downtown district. Funding will enable a media campaign and the purchase of “shop local” tote bags for consumers.

Established in 2014, Watertown First works to draw attention to the shop-local movement in downtown Watertown. The organization helps organize and produce an annual holiday market and downtown block parties, the foundation said.

“This funding opportunity is a meaningful way to help link the nonprofit sector with economic development in our region,” Max DelSignore, assistant director of the Northern New York Community Foundation, said. “There are myriad ways nonprofits make a direct impact on the strength and quality of life in Jefferson County. We will continue to encourage local organizations to explore how their programs, projects, and initiatives correlate to economic growth across the county in the short and long term.”

The Jefferson Economic Development Fund was established at the Community Foundation to support programs, projects, and efforts that help stimulate economic development and promote general welfare in Jefferson County. The fund was originally created and administered by the Jefferson County Chambers of Commerce in 1958. A group of regional business leaders created the nonprofit entity to help encourage economic development and growth. The Northern New York Community Foundation now stewards the charitable fund.


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