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Connellsville's assets touted; goals discussed

| Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 7:06 a.m.

The Downtown Connellsville group held its semi-annual mixer on Monday night with city officials, community members and business owners attending to listen to a report from member Michael Edwards and to ask questions, suggestions or offer ideas on ways to improve or help the city.

Held in the Carnegie Free Library, the event informed those in attendance of the progress of grants, programs and studies, while offering a calendar of events and entertainment that will be available in the city through autumn.

Edwards gave a detailed explanation of the outcome of a two-day study completed last fall by the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Goals were outlined that included movement within the city, generating money, awareness of the city and its amenities, lodging and ongoing volunteer and outreach programs.

“We basically talked first about what makes Connellsville great,” Edwards said. “I'd like to hear your input on any ideas that you may want to try to do.”

Edwards spoke about several grant options the group is pursuing and about signage and awning grants that will be available to Connellsville business owners through Downtown Connellsville.

“We have $8,000 to use for this,” Edwards said of the grant program that offers a match for new signage or awnings on businesses. “We already have four applications, and others are interested.”

Edwards announced the Downtown Connellsville Steering Committee will start a program that will support the academic and civic project endeavors of the city's youth.

“We'd like to see the youth of the area get more involved in downtown,” Edwards said. “It's a great way to get them involved in the community.”

Edwards reported that a group called Cobblestone Hotels has shown interest in establishing a small lodging facility in Connellsville and will be returning for a third visit.

“They have shown a definite interest and they do hotels that will fit into a downtown area,” Edwards said, noting the group is interested in erecting facilities along the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail.

“They are exploring the possibility of having six hotels from Pittsburgh to Meyersdale, so that is very exciting news,” he said.

Edwards distributed detailed calendars that outline many of the events happening in Connellsville in the next several months.

“The Farmers Market will be returning and will be held in the PNC parking lot from 8 (a.m.) to noon every Saturday, starting on July 6,” Edwards said, adding that the new Buy Local cards are now available for the year.

Details of the upcoming events, grants and programs are available on the Downtown Connellsville website at www.downtownconnellsville.org.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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