The YCEA launched the York County Trail Towns program in June 2020 to support five communities adjacent to the York County Heritage Rail Trail: City of York, Seven Valleys, Glen Rock, Railroad, and New Freedom. In 2021, the program expanded to include Hanover and Wrightsville to leverage other outdoor recreational amenities. The Trail Towns program provides a platform for focused economic development by increasing trail tourism and supporting and encouraging businesses to provide services and amenities to the nearly 500,000 trail users who pass through the communities each year.
The York County Trail Towns edition of the BLOOM grant program will allocate $30,000 across the seven Trail Town communities for this grant round. This funding comes through the BLOOM Business Empowerment Center, an entity of the YCEA which works to accelerate small business ownership and success, promote Pathways to Prosperity for talent development, and advance representation in leadership and access to opportunities.
Grants up to $3,000 are available for projects intended to increase the portion of the business related to outdoor recreational users and/or to make the business more trail user-friendly. Projects could include improved marketing and promotions aimed at recreational users, expanding inventory, physical improvements (such as better lighting, storefront enhancements, façade repairs), addition of bike-friendly amenities (such as bike racks, water, restroom improvements), or other creative ideas.
Complete Grant Criteria:
- This program is primarily intended for for-profit businesses, but nonprofits providing a specific service to outdoor recreational users may be eligible to apply. Nonprofit organizations should contact the YCEA before applying.
- Businesses that have not received funding from previous BLOOM grant programs will be given priority consideration.
- Businesses that have the trail friendly business designation or are in one of the seven Trail Towns will be given priority consideration. These include the City of York, Seven Valleys, Glen Rock, Hanover, Railroad, New Freedom, and Wrightsville.
- Businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color will be given priority consideration.
The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Friday, March 11. Applicant finalists will be required to participate in a virtual pitch competition on Wednesday, March 30.
Additional details can be found here.