Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Heritage Areas Grant Program

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Environmental Protection Fund Grant Program for Parks, Preservation and Heritage (EPF)


One application covers all three program areas (Parks, Historic Preservation, Heritage Areas). The Heritage Area program is for projects to acquire, preserve, rehabilitate or restore lands, waters or structures, identified in the approved management plans for Heritage Areas designated under section 35.03 of the Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Law and for structural assessments or planning for such projects. To ensure the public benefit from the investment of state funds, all properties acquired or developed with grant funds will receive long-term protections. The method and term of the protection is dependent upon the type of applicant and project undertaken (see sample documents on the Consolidated Funding Application tab). Municipal parkland acquired or improved with EPF funding must remain parkland in perpetuity (see the Handbook on the Alienation and Conversions of Municipal Parkland). The active Heritage Areas with approved Management Plans are listed below by Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) region:

Western New York:

Finger Lakes:

Central New York:

Southern Tier:

North Country:

Capital District:


New York City:

Long Island:

For exact Heritage Area boundaries, click on the map links above or find the "Grants Map for CFA" on the OPRHP CFA page.

To see a copy of the Management Plan, consult with the Heritage Area or contact your Regional Grants Administrator.

For an endorsement letter from the Heritage Area, contact the Heritage Area.

Funding Priorities

Each year the Commissioner establishes program priorities for which projects will receive additional points.

Rating Criteria

The Priority Evaluation Form is based on the following rating criteria:

  • the degree to which the project addresses one or more of the four heritage goals of preservation, education, economic development and recreation
  • the degree to which the project contributes to the preservation, restoration or enhancement of natural, historic or cultural resources related to the interpretive theme(s) in the local heritage area's approved management plan
  • the degree to which the project enhances the function and visual quality of the local heritage area
  • the degree to which the project directly serves or benefits heritage area visitors and users
  • impact of the facility on the local economy or its contribution to established economic development plans
  • the extent to which the project site has suffered from physical deterioration, decay, vandalism, neglect or disinvestment or may be threatened with closure, demolition or inappropriate development
  • the relationship of the project to a local, regional and/or statewide planning document or other assessment of need
  • the applicant's ability to initiate and complete the project on a timely basis, at a reasonable cost, and operate or maintain the project
  • annual programmatic and funding priorities

Among the rating criteria, the Commissioner may award any of the following factors up to a maximum of ten points. All applications will be reviewed for the relevance of these to the project scope:

  • the geographic distribution of other fundable projects in any given application cycle;
    consideration may be given to projects in areas that have or have not received funding in recent cycles or where funding is not commensurate with the population of the area. This will be based on the proximity to other funded sites and the diversity of projects being funded on a regional and local basis, as well as the service area of the developed or planned facilities.
  • the extent to which the project will maximize the use and accessibility of a facility;
    consideration may be given to projects where funding will allow underutilized facilities to be accessed or to develop underutilized resources for public use. This will be based on the resources offered by the facility, the use of those resources and whether the proposed project will help the facility expand and enhance its public use.
  • special engineering, environmental and historic preservation concerns or benefits;
    consideration may be given to develop particularly significant resources and facilities or to develop innovative approaches to preserve valuable resources. This will be based on the type of resource being developed or rehabilitated; its rarity on a local, regional, statewide and national basis; the ability of an innovative technology to address an emergency or mitigate future problems; how well a technology can be "exported" for use on other properties and resources; and how/if the project will allow public access that would not otherwise be available.
  • the past performance, if any, of the project sponsor on previous projects;
    consideration may be given to how timely an applicant completed previous projects, including its reporting requirements; how successful it was in outreach, especially to minority- and woman-owned businesses; the ongoing upkeep and maintenance of the property; and its cooperation in allowing OPRHP to complete inspections and other follow-up actions.

Eligible applications will be reviewed, rated and awarded as ranked on a regional basis, competing only against others in their region and category.