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Promoting economic development through history

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Promoting economic development through history
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The Southern Tier offers many historical sites and resources, but it’s often a challenge to attract people to those locations. The state's new "Path Through History" initiative aims to change that. The Southern Tier Regional Committee held a meeting at Binghamton University Wednesday to get public input on its ideas. Our Melissa Kakareka has more about how they plan to attract people to significant local sites.

VESTAL, N.Y. -- Mark Twain penned some of his most famous literature in Elmira and is buried there. Endicott is the birthplace of IBM. Places like the Corning Museum of Glass and the Roberson Museum are located right in the Southern Tier. That's just a very small taste of the historical sites and stories that the region has to offer.

"We may not have the single huge attraction like Gettysburg or Seneca Falls for Women's History, but we have a lot of stories that need to be told," said Broome County Historian and Southern Tier "Path Through History" Workforce Chair Gerald Smith.

It's those types of historical and cultural assets that Governor Andrew Cuomo is trying to promote with his "Path Through History" initiative, which was launched in August. New York is creating a website and mobile app to help people plan trips and also plans to install new promotional road signs on the Thruway and interstates. The initiative also challenges the ten regions of the state to build on those ideas with their own heritage tourism marketing plans.

The Southern Tier Regional Committee held a meeting at Binghamton University Wednesday to get public input on its ideas.

"We're looking strongly at creating at producing a lot of digital content that could be used for schools, mobile applications and Facebook like the state is already working on, plus broadcasting and radio and television efforts as well not just in the local area but statewide and national efforts as well," said Smith.

The state is hoping that its rich history can help pump extra cash into each region.

"What the governor also knows is that heritage tourists spend more and stay longer, on average heritage tourists spend $300 more per trip than any other tourist demographic." said Acting Executive Director of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Mark Castiglione.

The final marketing plan will be submitted to the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council for endorsement.

Members of the "Path Through History" committee are hoping the region wills start to see some of the economic and educational benefits of the initiative by the fall of this year.

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