Tourist and visitors to Forest City now have a map to encourage them to shop local and guide them to attractions in the greater Forest City area and Susquehanna County.
The unveiling took place in a ceremony at 11 AM on Tuesday, Nov. 1st, which was preceded by a reception in the Forest City Borough Council chambers.
The Susquehanna County Heritage Attractions sign is a double-sided structure, with a map of Forest City on one side and Susquehanna County attractions on the other side. The Endless Mountains Heritage Region received a $3,000 Susquehanna County Room Tax Grant to erect the County Attractions Sign. Because costs for research, coordination, design and installation of a high quality structure, exceed the $3,000 Room Tax grant, EMHR supplemented the Room Tax grant with an estimated $1,000 Heritage Region grant from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The Greater Forest City Business Alliance was brought on board to fill the back side of the structure and paid an estimated $445 to Panier Graphics, Gibsonia, PA, to produce the enlarged Forest City map and GFCBA member business directory. The panel is a reproduction of the organizations Visitors Brochure, made possible by the Susquehanna County Room Tax grant.
It was installed in the parking lot of Zazzera’s Market on Main Street by Brian Zembryzcki Excavating with the assistance of the Forest City street department.
The sign facing Main Street highlights historic and recreational destinations throughout Susquehanna County. The sign facing the parking lot uses the map and directory which was developed by GFCBA in its recent Visitor’s Brochure to show the locations of its 93 member businesses within the greater Forest City area. In the past year, the GFCBA and the Rail-Trail Council of NEPA collaborated to install a similar directory at the Forest City trail-head to entice its trail-users to shop and eat locally.
Forest City serves as a gateway to Susquehanna County from Lackawanna and Wayne Counties and is also a major trail head for the D & H Rail Trail. The 38-mile hiking and bike trail stretches from Simpson to the New York border, above Lanesboro in Susquehanna County.
Forest City is also in the process of trying to become the first “Trail Town” along the D & H Rail Trail. If successful, trail users will be encouraged to access Forest City’s downtown and retail businesses and produce what is termed “asset based economic development.”
The sign will also provide trail users, as well as local visitors and tourist, with a listing and map of the Susquehanna County’s many heritage and outdoor recreation venues.
At the unveiling, EHMR Director Annette Schultz served as master of ceremonies. “We approached Forest City Borough because of its great potential as a “Trails Town”, where D & H trail users visiting downtown Forest City on foot could find out about other heritage and recreational attractions throughout the county. The location and content of the County Attractions Sign was vetted by many, from the County Commissioners and Forest City representatives to the non-profit managers of the County Attractions listed on the sign.”
EMHR Pres. Ed Zygmunt also expressed his satisfaction for the great cooperation by Susquehanna County, Forest City Borough Council, Rail-Trail Council of NEPA and the GFCBA.
Joy Zazzera, secretary of the GFCBA, added her thanks to all the parties who contributed to the success of the sign project. “The collaborative project required a quick turn-around time between design, production, shipping and site determination and installation. Being asked to share our map for this new attractions sign was an unexpected opportunity but by already having the digital files from our Visitors Brochure, we were able to meet production deadlines. We recognize conditions change over time. Our digital files and the relationship we have established with our designer Deborah Bailey of Bailey Graphics & Design in Honesdale, will allow the GFCBA to reproduce both the brochure and sign panel in the future with appropriate changes.”
Senator Lisa Baker also thanked EMHR and the local entities which joined together in their efforts to make Forest City and Susquehanna County more welcoming to new arrivals and to improve the tourist economy.
Soon-to-be State Representative Jonathan Fritz called Forest City a “Norman Rockwell small-town” and noted our area is sometimes paralyzed by the status quo but that beautiful things can happen with the work of partnerships.
Susquehanna County Commissioner Chairman Betsy Arnold cited the unity and harmony which is exhibited by the local project. She thanked the local groups for their passion and commitment in trying to better the town and the County.
Forest City Mayor Pauline Wilcox called the sign a beautiful addition to our town and that the new sign and the Main Street improvements now underway, are part of the local effort to be welcoming to visitors.
Rail-Trail Executive Director Lynn Conrad noted the project was accomplished in record time as it evolved from a Room Tax Grant approved July 20 of this year. She also affirmed that this fits well into the “Trail Town” initiative now underway and that another sign is located at the Forest City trail-head also listing Forest City’s assets.
Jean Ruhf, Director of the Endless Mountains Visitor’s Bureau, reminded the crowd that it is important that organizations like EMVB and EMHR help promote the heritage of this area by looking to the past for the strength of the future.
Director Shultz ended by thanking the PA Dept. of Conservation & Natural Resources for its funding support. She noted that EMHR also has smaller vinyl versions of the sign that can be used as backdrops at special events.
For more information log onto www.endlessmountainsheritage.com and www.visitforestcitypa.com