Eight Businesses and Organizations Awarded Grants through PA Wilds Assistance

ELK COUNTY – A variety of businesses and organizations looking to improve the look of their property with guidance from the PA Wilds Design Guide have been awarded mini-grants through a popular program offered by the PA Wilds Planning Team.

The grants will help move forward the design and planning phases of several private- and public-sector projects around the region, from expansions and renovations at the Benezette Hotel and Gateway Lodge, to streetscape projects in Coalport and Muncy, to enhancements at Gobbler’s Knob in Jefferson County.

Funding for the projects was made possible through a $100,000 grant secured from the National Park Service’s Preserve America Program. All of the projects required a local match, leveraging thousands of dollars in private investment.

“Some of these projects will result in jobs created,” said Clearfield County Planning Director Jodi Brennan, who helped put the program together for the Planning Team. “All of them will result in visual enhancements or upgraded amenities that support local and regional tourism development efforts, which can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.”

The PA Wilds Planning Team, which is comprised of the county planners from around the region and other tourism stakeholders, applied for the grant to help promote the use and understanding of the PA Wilds Design Guide, a  voluntary planning document that highlights how communities in the Pennsylvania Wilds can protect or enhance their rural character as they grow – whether that growth is due to tourism, resource extraction or other industries.

“The region’s rural and historic character and strong sense of place is part of what makes the Pennsylvania Wilds attractive to visitors and residents, so it is important for us to be good stewards of these characteristics as
we grow,” said Warren County Planning Director Dan Glotz, who was just elected the new chairman of the PA Wilds Planning Team. “Part of our charge as the Planning Team is to give our communities tools to accomplish this.

That’s what we’re trying to do with the Design Guide and our related technical assistance and grant programs.”

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, the PA Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources, the PA Dept of Community & Economic Development, and the Lumber Heritage Region were key partners in helping the Planning Team secure, match and administer the Preserve America funds.

“This program is a great example of what we’ve been able to accomplish working together as a region,” Glotz said. “This federal funding and state matching grants would not have been available to us had we not been working collectively, creatively and in the common sense way.”

Recipients of the design grant include the Coalport Streetscape Committee; Benezette Hotel; Borough of Muncy; Punxsutawney Groundhog Club; Cathedral Pines Inc.; Dickinson Center Inc.; Borough of Smethport; and Clearfield Borough.

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