By MORGAN FRISCH
Recorder News Staff
FONDA– The Montgomery County Legislature’s Economic Development Committee will meet with representatives from the Fort Plain museum determined to bring tourism into the county.
Brian Mack and Norm Bollen , organizers of the Mohawk Country campaign, are scheduled to meet legislators during the Feb. 14 committee meeting. The meeting is a chance for Mack and Bollen to meet with the legislature to discuss ideas. Their proposal is separate from the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce’s tourism program for the county.
District 7 Legislator Michael Pepe said during January’s committee meeting that he was approached by one of his constituents, Mack. Mack and Bollen, who are involved with the Fort Plain Museum, have spearheaded the marketing campaign, Mohawk Country.
“They’re seeking to jumpstart a true destination heritage tourism in Montgomery County,” Pepe said.
He explained how the two launched the program in an effort to promote their own organization and other historic attractions in the area.
Bollen and Mack hosted the first annual American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley Conference at the Fort Plain Museum in 2015.
Pepe said it’s attracted authors and other participants from across the United States and Canada for a four-day stay in Montgomery County. This includes a bus tour to all of the historic destinations.
Bollen, Mack and the Fort Plain Museum received the 2017 Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Barbara V. Spraker Tourism Partner Award Friday for their efforts in promoting tourism.
Pepe showed legislators slides to explain some of Mack and Bollen’s efforts.
“If you look here, you will see there are 16 different historic sites spanning the county from east to west,” he said. “So I think it’s a very important to know that this involves the whole county and not one segment of it.”
Pepe said their plans to have the county’s historical sites were featured on a “A Taste of History,” which is nationally syndicated television show. They are also hopeful to receive grant funds to help preserve and restore the Stone Arabia battlefield site.
“They feel they are on their way to building an economic model here for destination tourism and they would like to come to an economic development meeting to discuss this in much more detail than I am here,” Pepe said, “so that we as a legislature may give them some official recognition for this program.”
Pepe said the Mohawk Country is not in “anyway, shape or form” looking to upstage the county’s recent marketing plan and slogan.
“They just want to piggyback off of it,” Pepe said. “Kind of on the premise that as a county lacking one true destination to build off of, our history is likely our best selling point.”
The legislators agreed to hear Bollen and Mack’s plans in more depth.
District 2 Legislator Brian Sweet said it was a great idea.
“Montgomery County has such rich history and up until just recently, we really hadn’t used that to bring people here” he said. “Anything we can do to holster that, that would be great. Bring people in and they spend their money here would be a great thing.”