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Connellsville Redevelopment Authority director touts revitalization

| Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Completion of the Great Allegheny Passage and proposed construction of a new hotel has sparked business development in downtown Connellsville.

Michael Edwards, executive director of the Connellsville Redevelopment Authority, told authority members on Monday night that it is an exciting time for the city's revitalization.

“The recent economic development is the result of the new hotel that will be constructed and the completion of the Great Allegheny Passage, the bike trail that runs through Connellsville connecting Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.,” he said.

Amtrak will offer a new roll-on, roll-off service in Connellsville, Edwards said.

Edwards said Downtown Connellsville has been operating in the city for the past five years.

“Good things are starting to happen in Connellsville,” he said.

Scott Crytzer of Mill Run recently opened Appalachian Juice in a building located at 806 W. Crawford Ave. and owned by city Councilman Tom Karpiak.

By this fall, Edwards said the Coke Oven Grill is expected to open at 510 W. Crawford Ave., in a building owned by Michael Bruner. It will be operated under a partnership.

A yogurt shop called New Haven Trail Side Treats will open its doors in the 300 block of West Crawford Avenue, he said.

In addition to the new business development, Edwards said Jamie Lee's Country Store, on Route 119 in Dunbar Township, recently moved to 314 W. Crawford Ave.

A remodeling project is underway at Somerset Trust, at 900 W. Crawford Ave.

“The train station will serve as the commercial hub for the development,” Edwards said.

Edwards said plans are moving on schedule for the construction of a new 54-unit, three-story Cobblestone Hotel, which will be built on First Street at the site of the former Connellsville Bottling Co. Hotel d2 is the developer for the project. Fairchance Construction will serve as the general contractor.

The authority received a $100,000 grant from the Benedum Foundation in Pittsburgh for pre-development costs related to the construction of a second hotel in the city, Edwards said.

The authority applied for additional grant funding for the hotel construction through the Heinz and Hillman Foundations.

“We're very excited with what's happening in downtown Connellsville,” he said. “All of our hard work is really starting to pay off.”

Cindy Ekas is a contributing writer.

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