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Special project funds totaling $27,000 will be held back by the Cattaraugus County Tourism Promotion Agency's board of directors to give players in a regional cooperative marketing effort time to raise additional money.

Tom Livak, Cattaraugus County's director of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism, said the issue was discussed briefly during an agency board meeting last week at Holiday Valley. He said Andrew Nixon, a Chautauqua County tourism official, has been chosen to coordinate the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus-Allegany Tourism Marketing Initiative.

The three counties, already united under I Love New York's tourism funding structure, have formed a coalition to pay for market research that could be used as a basis for promotion of the region in new ways.

Livak said $115,000 must be raised by public and private sources in the three counties before they come together for a meeting in mid-March. If successful, the agency's Tourism Marketing Initiative would hire a research firm with the money.

"We have $27,000 specifically committed through the Tourism Promotion Agency," as a result of its budget recommendation to the Legislature to play a role in a regional project, Livak said about a share of the agency's overall $60,000 project pool funded by the County Legislature.

The agency's board members will next meet at 3 p.m. March 15 in the large committee room at the County Center in Little Valley.

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