Harford County Awards $1.5M in Grants to Grow Tourism

31 local nonprofits awarded funds to help draw visitors to Harford County.

Nearly $1.5 million in grants has been awarded to local nonprofits to promote tourism and related activities within Harford County.

As announced in a Harford County news release:

County Executive Barry Glassman is pleased to announce that 31 local nonprofits will be receiving grants from his administration totaling nearly $1.5 million to promote tourism and related activities in Harford County. Now in its second year, the county’s tourism grant program makes awards based on a competitive application process with funding from revenue generated by a hotel lodging fee implemented in March 2015. The one-year grants are used to plan and execute a variety of tourism-related activities including historical, cultural, agricultural, heritage, ecological and sports tourism. By strengthening activities that draw visitors into the county, the program initiated by the Glassman administration seeks to grow tourism and enhance local business activity overall.

Funding for the grants is generated by a 6% hotel lodging fee initiated by the Glassman administration and approved by the Harford County Council in 2015. Application of the fee began on March 25, 2015. Harford County was the last jurisdiction in the state to implement such a fee; funds are used explicitly for tourism-related operations and events.

Grant awards for fiscal year 2017 focused on operational support for the human capital and expertise necessary to sustain the applicant organizations. As was the case last year, the largest grant was $500,000 awarded to Visit Harford, which promotes local attractions and markets Harford County as a premier tourism destination. Other awards will enhance new activities and traditional favorites ranging from apple festivals to farm f airs to Aberdeen Proving Ground’s Centennial Celebration.

For more information, including a list of award recipients, read the full news release.