The Greater Forest City Business Alliance held its Second Annual “Forest City’s Big
Backyard Poker Run” on Saturday, July 30th, 2022. It was a gorgeous day to take a ride
through our vast and breathtaking region and visit many of the GFCBA member restaurants.
The event was open to all vehicles. In total, 44 participants made the rounds to Jake’s
Elk Lake Tavern, Elegante’s PIzzeria, AJ’s Bar & Grill, Simpler Times, The Stonehouse, Chet’s Place, The Beacon Bar & Grill and the Candlelight Inn. At each stop, participants received a “card” via a game such as balloon darts, cornhole, a Big Six wheel, duck ponds, and Bingo. Each participant carried a scorecard, donated by Panorama Golf Course, and their suits and numbers were recorded. The event concluded with an after-party at the Mountain View Restaurant in Clifford with good food and music by DJ Donna Diva. Two $500 prizes were awarded for the best and worst hands. Maureen Neubert took the top spot for best hand and Paul Roberts won for worst hand.
The $1600 raised from this year’s run is earmarked to be used toward the beautification
of Forest City’s Center Street Park. The GFCBA plans to collaborate with Forest City’s Parks and Recreation Committee and Forest City’s Action Team to identify the best use of these funds. This success of the Poker Run was made possible through the hard work of the GFCBA’s fundraising committee. The group meets monthly to organize fundraisers and identify causes that can promote the connection of our area’s natural resources to our local commerce. The Poker Run evolved originally to draw attention to our many member restaurants who were hit hardest by the pandemic. Michelle LaPenta, of M & M Auto, did a fantastic job leading this event.
The GFCBA would like to thank our 2022 sponsors, whose support of our organization
and vision is essential to our success. Our Antique Level Sponsors included the following: Hornbeck Chevrolet, Clifford Home & Auto, First National Bank, Forest City Marketplace, Jake’s Elk Lake Tavern, M & M Auto, Pioneer Construction Co. Inc., White’s Crossing Sports Shop, and Ms. Marie’s Salon. Our Vintage Level Sponsors included Forest City Family Health Center, Simpler Times, McAndrew Law Offices, P.C., Briechle Law Offices, P.C., Creamworks, Inc. The Beacon Bar & Grill, Kresock Insurance Company, The Forest City News, Inc., and Senator Lisa Baker. Our Classic Level Sponsors included Cube Auto Supply, William H. Wolfe Jr. Well Drilling, Trinity Banquet Facility, K & W Oil, and Panorama Golf Course. Additional thanks to The Uniondale Fire Company for your sponsorship of the game at Chet’s Place. And thank you to Cable’s Deli and The Samuel Company for building the Big 4 Wheel! We are sure the wheel will make an appearance for many fundraisers to come!
Next year’s Big Backyard Poker Run is scheduled for July 29th, 2023. Save the date! It’s a good time, benefits our community and takes you on a fabulous country ride!
Antique Sponsors for GFCBA Poker Run Vintage Sponsors for the GFCBA Poker Run '22

On Monday, August 1, 2022 Forest City Borough Council voted positively on an
ordinance accepting the Forest City Outdoor Town Action Team as an advisory board to their Community and Economic Development sector under Councilwoman Amy Bean. The Action Team was originally formed in 2021 to participate in a program called “Outdoor Towns”, which was made possible by a grant through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and matched by Forest City Borough Council and the Rail Trail Council of NEPA. Recognition by Forest City Borough Council as an advisory board was a crucial structural step to allow the Action Team to investigate projects and resources that can help to address meaningful changes and progress identified by our community as important, through the Outdoor Towns Initiative.

Following their formal designation by Borough Council on August 1st, an organizational meeting was held on Thursday, August 4, 2022 at Elegante’s Pizzeria for the Forest City Outdoor Town Action Team (FCOTAT). The board for the FCOTAT has been identified as follows: Katie Zefran – Chairperson, Deb McNamara – Co-Chairperson, Erin Debish – Secretary, Suzanne Atcavage – Grant Team Leader, and Juliann Doyle – Marketing Team Leader. President of Forest City Borough Council Robert Lesjack attended the meeting, providing direction and insight for organizational structure, meeting management and the role of this team.

Discussions on job descriptions, grant opportunities, the Sunshine Act, collaborating with other FC Borough entities and organizations, the Erie Street Trailhead Welcome Arch, and the Center Street Park Project were included in the evening’s discussion. The group spent a significant amount of time reviewing their role and responsibilities. A key component that they will work to emphasize is their place within the Borough Council and community structure. The FCOTAT are not intending to be the designated leaders for the many projects and visions that were identified in the Outdoor Towns Action Plan. Rather, the FCOTAT is dedicated to collaborative efforts with Forest City Borough and it’s entities, other Forest City based organizations including but not limited to Rail Trail Council of NEPA, the Greater Forest City Business Alliance, Forest City Historical Society, Greater Forest City Industries, NEPA Sno-Trails, and Forest City Regional School District. The FCOTAT intends to serve the community as a “work horse” to identify and pursue grant opportunities, collaborate and assist with projects and promote a united vision among our many community based organizations.

The next meeting of the FCOTAT will be held on Thursday September 1st, 2022, 6pm at
Elegante’s Restaurant and Pizzeria.