Tionesta Market Village Plan Unveiled

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Forest County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Forest County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tionesta’s long-vacant downtown will be given a jump-start this spring with the creation of the Tionesta Market Village. The Forest County IDA and IDC have partnered up and completed plans to establish this addition to the main street on the southern of the two IDA-owned lots, now known as the “Gazebo Lot”.  This site will become the home of several custom-built small scale retail buildings designed to look like 1800s store fronts, fronted by a wide walkway for shoppers and offering a variety of small retail establishments.

While the IDA owns the property, the IDC is funding this project and is now searching for new start-ups or small home-based businesses looking to move into a small retail space.  This is an attempt to fill two needs: providing small, high-visibility retail space to small businesses and making use of the vacant property until a permanent development is established.

“Over the past couple of years there have been several individuals that have expressed an interest in starting a small business in downtown Tionesta.” says Dick Johnson, owner of Forest Hardware in Tionesta and Vice President of the Forest County IDC.  “Two of the biggest drawbacks are the lack of available space and the cost of building new.”  He hopes that the Market Village will give those people an “economically feasible way to get their new ventures up and running.”

IDC president, Farley Wright, says “The project is a unique, low-risk, high potential reward grass roots effort to increase the attraction and traffic to the community.  It’s an opportunity, without relying on governmental funding, to assist local folks as well as benefit our community.”  In answer to why this type of use for the property, he adds “Sometimes you can’t wait for others to provide the solutions; and while there may be detractors (nay-sayers) to the project, I know of no one that has presented a better idea.  We can support the effort and contribute to its success, or we can deride it and it may fail…….but at least we are doing something.”

Read more:  http://www.forestcounty.com/uploads/article_Tionesta%20Market%20Village%20Plans%20Unveiled.pdf

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Spirit Airlines Finds Success At Arnold Palmer Airport In Latrobe

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Spirit Airlines has found unexpected success flying out of the Arnold Palmer Airport in Latrobe.  The airline started air service to Ft. Lauderdale, FL from Latrobe on February 12th of this year.  Since then more then 10,000 passengers have flown out of Latrobe.

Golf legend Arnold Palmer was on hand to cut the ribbon for the inaugural flight to Myrtle Beach, SC last week.  Now there are two destinations for travelers to choose from when flying out of Arnold Palmer Airport.

Passengers using Spirit Airlines at Latrobe can expect to fly on an Airbus 319. The aircraft has a capacity of 149 passengers and flights are generally 95-100 percent full.  No puddle jumpers here folks.  Fares are extremely competitive which has prompted passengers to come from as far away as New York and Canada.  There is also free parking and the airport has easy access.

The Westmoreland County Airport Authority received an $8,000 grant from the Laurel Highland Visitors Bureau to advertise in Florida and North Carolina.  The Visitors Bureau is looking to attract travelers from the South to the Laurel Highlands for the regions many outdoors activities and resorts.

For more information about the Arnold Palmer Airport click here: http://www.palmerairport.com/index.html

Demolition To Begin On $100 Million Mt. Washington Redevelopment Project

The source of the Ohio River at “The Point” in...

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Pittsburgh’s scenic Mt. Washington neighborhood will hopefully be transformed by a huge redevelopment project at the corner of Grandview Avenue and Wyoming Street.  Demolition of the long vacant Edge Restaurant property will begin on March 14th.  The demolition phase should take four to six weeks. 

Once the site is cleared, developer Beau Beemsterboer stated it will take between six and ten months to get full financing and start construction.  Beemsterboer feels confident in his ability to get the necessary funding.

The proposed development includes a 20 story hotel, two restaurants, a spa, 55 condominiums and large parking garage.  A hotel chain has not been selected at this time; however, many chains have expressed interest in the site.

The spectacular view of downtown Pittsburgh from Mount Washington, (where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers form the Ohio River) is a world-class location and immensely popular with tourists visiting the city.  Pittsburgh is consistently ranked one of America’s most beautiful and livable cities.

Easton To Begin Site Prep And Demo For Downtown Intermodal Transportation Center, Sports Museum And Restaurant

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The City of Easton will begin a $20 million project that is expected to bring visitors and jobs into their downtown.  The city is building an intermodal transportation center which will include a parking garage (350 cars), a commercial complex and the National High School Sports Hall of Fame Museum.  It is hoped the project will be completed by the end of 2012.

Demolition of the former Perkins Restaurant and the Majestic Theater will make way for the new project.  The city (Parking Authority) secured $8 million in state and federal grants along with floating a $12 million bond to pay for the project.

Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA), Greyhound Bus Lines and Trans-Bridge Bus Lines will be making their homes at the new transportation center.

A restaurant is also planned for the space which would be a great benefit for travelers and visitors to the museum.

We applaud Easton for their creativity.  Easton is the smallest of the three Lehigh Valley cities with a population of 26,000 and is the county seat of Northampton County.  The National High School Sports Hall of Fame Museum will join the Crayola Museum and the National Canal Museum as Easton’s third major downtown museum.

York City Making Improvements To Market Downtown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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One year ago, Roger Brooks visited York City and came up with 33 recommendations how downtown York could market itself and attract people.  This idea should sound familiar to Pottstown residents after a ULI study and recommendations were made for Pottstown.

What did York do with these 33 recommendations?  Do you suppose they ignored them or possibly took an expert at their word and went about trying to carry out these ideas?  I know, sounds pretty zany, doesn’t it!

Mr. Brooks gave York a 3 – 5 year time frame to make the changes.  Like Pottstown, York has a downtown entity similar to PDIDA, called Downtown Inc.  Their Executive Director, Sonia Huntzinger reports they have completed 18 out of 33 recommendations in the first year!

Some of these recommendations, Pottstown has already completed (mainly the cosmetic ones).  One unique recommendation, completed in October, was a “best of” guide.  Downtown Inc. released a Downtown Destination guide which promotes downtown York!

Brooks recommended that York brand itself as “America’s Industrial Art and Design Capital”.  The York County Economic Development Corp. has developed “Creativity Unleashed” to support this effort.  The idea is to attract young professionals and artists to York along with tourism.  A logo was developed to be used by organizations and companies in their advertising to help promote this rebranding.

How refreshing to see that the county and the city work together to achieve these goals.  How refreshing to see the vigor with which York is embracing these recommendations for positive change.

If you would like to check out Downtown Inc.’s website site, click here: http://downtownyorkpa.com/

To view their 25 page Downtown Destination brochure, click here:

http://downtownyorkpa.com/storage/Destination%20Guide%20ALL%20Pages.pdf

To view Creativity Unleashed info, click here:

http://downtownyorkpa.com/creativity-unleashed/

If this doesn’t inspire you, check your pulse!