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Mt. Pleasant group plans to focus on tourism's potential

| Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

A new group has formed in Mt. Pleasant to promote tourism in the borough, coupled with its historic values and interests.

The Mt. Pleasant Area Cultural Trust, or M-PACT, recently organized and will focus on highlighting the special significance of Mt. Pleasant and all it has to offer.

“We hope the M-PACT will help the area find ways to improve the cultural environment and draw tourists to the area,” M-PACT President Cassandra Vivian said, adding that she hopes that the future linkage of the Great Allegheny Passage bike trial to the Coal and Coke Trail could potentially bring thousands into town.

“The Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. is now almost complete. Last year it was used by 800,000 visitors eager to see what lies on both sides of the bike trail,” she said. “If and when the Coal and Coke Trail links to the GAP, we will be ready with museums, bed and breakfasts, art centers, campgrounds, coal and coke heritage guides, books, signage and other attractions that will bring visitors to us. They will eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores.”

The first project of the new group was the opening of a new glass exhibit, located in the In-Town Shops on Main Street.

The new exhibit features glassware — both antique and modern — from glass plants in Mt. Pleasant that included Bryce, Lenox and L.E. Smith Glass. It has been open for a few weeks.

“The glass exhibit has far exceeded our expectations,” M-PACT secretary Cynthia Stevenson said. “We have about 20 people every day stopping in. To date, the exhibit has welcomed more than 200 visitors who are invited, free, to browse through the two rooms as they see the wonderful items and examples of local glassware on display.”

M-PACT hopes to turn the exhibit into a permanent museum, one that is open year-round to welcome visitors and tourists alike.

“It's nearly impossible to talk about the history of Mt. Pleasant and not mention glass,” Stevenson said.

The group is also working on other projects, and recently completed a brochure, guide and specially made signs that show where the famous Braddock Road was located in the area.

M-PACT hopes to make an impact on the area's busy tourist industry, while showcasing the interests that lie within the town.

“17,000 vehicles a day pass through Mt. Pleasant. We need to give them a reason to stop, to shop, to eat, and to visit. We need to give people a reason to stop in Mt. Pleasant,” Stevenson said.

“M-PACT will generate ideas and help people who are interested in creating cultural and touristic places get started,” Vivian said.

One of the most important aspects of M-PACT is that it brings together townships and the borough and has joined forces with similar organizations in Fayette County.

“We are working together in harmony,” Vivian said.

The exhibit is now open on weekends. Donations are greatly appreciated. Information on M-PACT is also available at the exhibit.

A private reception will be held on Friday to celebrate the new glass exhibit.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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