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Reed Champions Passage of Designations for Finger Lakes National Heritage Area, National Comedy Center

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Washington, D.C., February 26, 2019 | comments

Today, Rep. Tom Reed announced his bills to officially designate the National Comedy Center in Jamestown and the Finger Lakes Region as a National Heritage Area (NHA) passed the House.

Both bills now head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“Both the National Comedy Center in Jamestown and the Finger Lakes are places we enjoy and appreciate, and want to ensure they receive the proper recognition,” Tom said. “We care about ensuring both of these have a fair shot at boosting their local economies and creating jobs – and this is why we pushed this legislation in Washington.”

A National Heritage Area designation would help give the Finger Lakes Region the platform it needs to leverage funds and secure long-term, sustainable support for heritage conservation and economic development. By incorporating community input, NHAs turn every $1.00 of federal investment into $5.50 for jobs and government revenue that helps boost local tourism while protecting the region’s precious natural, historic, and cultural resources.

“My 11 older siblings and I spent time in the Finger Lakes growing up and now as an adult with my own kids, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy this national treasure in our backyard,” said Tom. “It’s only right that we come together and find a commonsense approach to preserve our heritage and create jobs. This bill is an important first step.”

“We cannot thank Congressman Reed and Senator Gillibrand enough for their ongoing efforts to secure the needed authorization for this feasibility study,”  Cynthia Kimble, President- Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance said. “ This study will determine if the Finger Lakes region could qualify to be added to the prestigious list of  49 current National Heritage Areas.  Given our rich background, national resources and historical connection to the nation’s growth, we are hopeful that the next step will be the designation of the Finger Lakes as a National Heritage Area.  This will give the region the National recognition that is so deserves and to secure this needed authorization for the study during our 100th year of service to the region makes it all the more poignant.”

Tom’s bill to officially designate the Comedy Center passed unanimously in the House last Congress, but did not receive a vote in the Senate.

“Jamestown is now to comedy what Cooperstown is to baseball and Cleveland is to rock and roll,” Tom said. “As the nation’s first state-of-the-art museum and cultural institution dedicated to presenting, preserving and celebrating the art form of comedy, there is no other place more deserving of full backing of the U.S. government as the nation’s home to comedy than the birthplace of Lucille Ball and the National Comedy Center.”

"Ten years ago, a group of dedicated people embarked on the mission to create a world class attraction devoted to celebrating the art form of comedy in Jamestown New York”, said Tom Benson, Project Chairman. “Our dream was realized when the National Comedy Center opened on August 1, 2018 to rave reviews, and now we are thrilled that this important institution will be forever known by law as America’s official cultural institution for comedy.”  

In 2017, Tom helped connect the National Comedy Center with Federal New Market Tax Credit financing after noticing what a large impact the center would have on the area. These tax credits allowed for an increased flow of capital to the National Comedy Center by providing tax incentives to private investors. Tom also coordinated conversations between the National Comedy Center and the Economic Development Administration to ensure additional funding for the project.

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