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Three LI tourism projects get nearly $600,000 from state

Patrons in the tasting room at Bedell Cellars

Patrons in the tasting room at Bedell Cellars Winery in Cutchogue on Dec. 14, 2013. Credit: Randee Daddona

Three projects aimed at attracting more tourists to Long Island will receive nearly $600,000 from New York State.

The board of directors of Empire State Development, the state's primary business-aid agency, approved the grants this week.

The largest award -- $285,000 -- will go to the Long Island Wine Council in Riverhead for a marketing campaign designed to bring visitors to East End wineries during the winter and on days in the middle of the week.

The campaign, expected to cost a total of $385,000, will tout discounted rates and travel packages. It's part of the larger Access East End initiative, which seeks to boost the local tourism industry, officials said.

A $197,551 grant was awarded to St. Joseph's College in Patchogue for its Hospitality and Tourism Management program. The money will be used to produce videos showing the program's students working in tourism jobs and the college's instructional offerings for tourism professionals.

The grants were among 19 approved Wednesday, totaling $3.2 million. They're part of the ongoing Market NY Regional Tourism program, which backs targeted tourism projects.

The program seeks to "help bolster tourism growth by promoting tourism destinations, attractions and special events" that are aligned with five-year job-creation plans developed by 10 Regional Economic Development Councils across the state, said Kelly Rabideau-Baquerizo, Market NY director.

She told the board that Market NY had received 156 applications for up to $10 million in grants; a total of 50 grants will be awarded competitively.

Separately, the board approved $100,000 for curbs and pedestrian walkways at the Museum of American Armor in Bethpage. The museum is on the grounds of Old Bethpage Village Restoration.

The grant was included in the 2014-15 state budget by state Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and then-Sen. Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick) and will go to Nassau County.

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