Last week members of the agri-tourism group Meet Me in Marlborough updated the Town Board on what they are doing and hoping to accomplish in 2020.
Founding member Sheila Mannese said they have submitted a grant proposal to tap $7,000 of unused by NYS Ag & Markets money for digital signage to continue efforts to brand the town in order to attract visitors and new businesses. She said they have also requested additional Farm Trail Signs as part of the proposal, pointing out that these are quite expensive because of design and instillation requirements that have to be met.
Mannese said they will be seeking to place the signs at the I 84/route 299 Thruway exit as well as along Routes 9 and 9W to direct people to Marlborough. State Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson has been assisting Meet Me in Marlborough in this effort.
Mannese thanked the Town Board for supporting their idea for future Boulevard signs that will be placed throughout the town as a way to highlight the town’s farms, its history, businesses and attractions.
The board estimated that Meet Me in Marlborough would probably need about $20,000 to pay for all of the signage that they are considering. Mannese said they are also thinking about approaching local farms and businesses to see if they would like to sponsor a sign and have their name listed on it.
Member B.J. Mikkelson is working on ways to attract cruise lines to stop in Milton, believing that once the southern pier is rebuilt and the waterfront is spruced up, the ships will come.
“One thing for sure is that these cruise lines are already looking at 2022 and we have a good chance to attract them,” he said.
Mikkelson said the town has a lot to offer tourists, such as wineries, distilleries, orchards and local eateries, “but are we more attractive than Poughkeepsie, Highland or West Point? To push Marlborough to the forefront, he wants to invite a group of companies involved in tourism to town in the spring and show them all of what Marlborough has to offer, courtesy of Meet Me in Marlborough, feed them and take them all over the place. We see time and time again, even when we take politicians around for a day, their jaws drop saying we had no idea. They are our representatives and they don’t know us. So this is really something at the local level as well as from coming overseas...that makes New York State shine.”
Supervisor Al Lanzetta said he will provide Meet Me in Marlborough with architectural renderings and a power point presentation of what the Milton Waterfront Park will look like that can be shown to interested cruise line companies. In addition, he said the at grade railroad crossing into the park is moving forward.
“I think we have a good plan; we’re very pro-active and I think we can put this together with Meet Me in Marlborough, the Town Board and everybody, a good package that people would want to sell,” Lanzetta said.
Mikkelson suggested working jointly with the Town Board on fundraising efforts - “There is a lot of money out there and if you’re only taking in about $30,000 or $40,000, it all helps.”
Councilman Howard Baker said the board will continue to go after grants for the waterfront park, noting that although they have been turned down three times by the state, “we’re going to go ahead for a fourth time. We’re constantly trying to go after the money.”
Mannese said, “We have the river, farming, the valley and the mountains and it’s on us to sell it and that’s why I have on the agenda to really push the fact that we are the home of the first New York State Farm Trail. We would like the town to really utilize the Farm Trail logo because the more we brand the town the more we’re going to sell the town.”