BATAVIA — The federal government plans to distribute money to some counties in the Finger Lakes to help with cultural and historical activities, and Genesee County Historian Michael Eula wants to make sure Genesee County gets a part of these funds.
While presenting her department report to the county social services committee on Monday, Eula spoke about the National Heritage Area Feasibility Study for the Finger Lakes Heritage Area, authorized by the 2019 Heritage Act. Conservation, Management, and Recreation by John D. Dingell, Jr. According to the National Park Service website, Genesee County is not among the counties to be considered for study. Livingston County is among the counties that would be part of the study, which would assess whether the Finger Lakes region is worthy of national recognition, conservation, interpretation and continued use; by designation as a national heritage area.
Eula said Genesee County’s inclusion in the study could result in a substantial, but unspecified, amount of money for the county from the National Park Service.
“I’m in regular contact with the National Park Service and just waiting to hear – I submitted a detailed argument on behalf of our county that we should have been included in the historic heritage map, basically, that they (the Park Service) built to decide who won’t get those funds,” he said. “I have a lot of confidence that they’ll go along with that (his argument), but I still don’t commitment.”
Eula said he was limited to writing a two-page argument, but it could have been 15 pages.
“I don’t see any objection they would have. There are so many historical ties between Genesee County and the Finger Lakes,” he said. “That congressional subcommittee that manages these funds should be able to include us. Once they have decided that, they will decide how much money they are going to distribute.
The county historian said he did not know how much money would be distributed to Finger Lakes counties.
“I’ve heard of several million dollars for the entire Finger Lakes region. These are all counties that the subcommittee has included in the draft,” he said.
Eula said if Genesee County gets money, its understanding is the county legislature; Matt Landers, County Manager; and he would be among those who would decide on its allocation for historical museums, libraries, anything related to local history, even remotely.
Eula said he has high hopes that the county will be included in this federal funding for the Finger Lakes Heritage Area.
As for County’s chances, he said: “I can’t guarantee it, but I wouldn’t come out publicly and say I think it’s going to happen for us if I didn’t feel strongly, because I I’ve been in touch with the folks running the project at the National Park Service.