Federal, state and local officials were in town on Friday (8/26) at the site of the future expansion of the New England Ski Museum, after it received a federal grant earlier this month that encourages investment in economic development projects across a four-state region.
The museum is one of 13 recipients of a grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission, which distributes grants each year to northern communities in New York, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire. Communities located in Coos, Carroll, Sullivan and parts of Grafton County are eligible to apply.
This year, according to Christine Frost of the NBRC, 24 applications were received from New Hampshire, of which 13 were funded, totaling about $1.5 million.
“North Conway was the town in the United States where skiing emerged as an industry, where there was a concentration of ski areas and ski businesses that other towns wanted to emulate,” said Jeff Leich, executive director of the museum. “We see skiing as connecting with our family and friends and to our mountain environment. This is what we aspire to show in our exhibits, programs and publications and it is what we hope to take to a new level here in North Conway.”
The New England Ski Museum was established at the base of Cannon Mountain, in Franconia Notch State Park, in 1982. It will remain there, while the planned $1.75 million expansion in North Conway will place it in a community recognized for its contributions to the skiing industry.
“Carroll Reed and Harvey Gibson really set the foundation for skiing to become a real engine of economic development in the United States,” Leich said.
Commissioner Jeffrey Rose, of the Department of Resources and Economic Development, called North Conway “the perfect location” for the expansion.
“Skiing is part of the backbone of who we are in New Hampshire and New England,” he said. “We have a rich and storied history that began under the shadows of Wildcat and Cannon, where the sport began.”