Town meeting sets priorities for Trail Town/Outdoor Town plan.
Fifty two area residents and interested citizens attended a meeting Thursday, Sept. 9, at the Forest City Area Historical Society to begin to prioritize actions toward the establishment of Forest City as a Trail Town/Outdoor Town.
This session was the 4th in a series of meetings held in conjunction with a $10,000 Commonwealth of PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources grant directed toward determining a plan of action to set Forest City on a course to “cash in” on recreation as way to resurrect area businesses for the future.
The Group, designated as the Action Team, is spearheaded by the Greater Forest City Area Business Alliance, and the D& H Rail Trail Council. Susanne Atcavage, President of GFCBA, along with GFCBA Team Leader Erin Debish, and Lynn Conrad, executive director of the Rail Trail Council, made the presentations.
After presenting a list of 38 action items which were produced over the past six months, attendees were asked to come forward and place colored stickers on the actions which they prioritized in each of five categories.
The most priority appeared to be directed toward vastly improving signage to direct visitors to Forest City and the Rail Trail, and then to get them from the Trail Head up to Main Street, to help improve the business climate.
The 15 priorities selected by the attendees from the 5 different categories were as follows:
Main Street Aesthetics
- Building façade improvements
- Murals and public art
- Streetscape enhancements such as garbage/recycling cans, doggie cleanup posts, etc.
Erie St. & FC Trailhead Enhancements
- Directional signs & maps directing to Main St. business district
- Clean up and design a unique and inviting atmosphere on Erie St.
Connect Outdoor Assets to the Main St. Business District
- Safe and clearly marked bike/pedestrian routes from D&H and O&W trails, the Lackawanna River and Kennedy park
- Create signage to connect Main St. business district with trails, Kennedy Park and Lackawanna River.
Business and Community Development
- Attract lodging: B&B, Motel/Hotel, Air B&B
- Attract Retail businesses
- Attract Restaurants
- Market FC as a Trail Town/Outdoor Town
- Market to attract youth to the outdoor town initiative and to become future entrepreneurs and residents.
- Create interactive social media specific to Outdoor Town/Trail Town initiative.
The Action Team also announced a draft version of its Vision Statement for Forest City:
Forest City is a welcoming small town with a big backyard for embracing visitors for outdoor recreation that embraces visitors and is a place where family, business, culture, ideas and sense of community thrive.
Audience members added comments following the summary of the priorities. Sean Sheare of the Snowmobile and ATV Club commented on the economic impacts of those sports to the area.
Others talked about the need to search out grants to achieve many of the objectives, even including the hiring of a fulltime person to seek the grants.
An idea for transportation from the Trails included a trolley or short bus to the Main Street.
GFCBA Pres. Sue Atcavage summed up the evening’s work by stating that it was going to be a huge job to undertake the TrailTown/Outdoor Town initiative and to secure the needed funding from grants , donation and other sources. She said it would include the use of professionally done and creative social media usage. It would also require the cooperation of Borough Council and other area governmental and civic organizations.
She said the Action Team is on a fact finding mission and that 2021 is a planning year. She stressed that more discussions will be taking place and there is a great need for volunteers and donations to make the various priorities a success. Suggestions can be made to any Action Team member or to the Alliance at gfcba13@gmail,com or to Rail Trail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article courtesy of The Forst City News.