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Feedback sought from Trail Towns like Connellsville

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By Judy Kroeger
Monday, Feb. 8, 2010

As one of six Trail Towns on the Great Allegheny Passage, Connellsville is part of a Preserve America program to protect and retain its rich architectural resources.

The other five communities are West Newton, Ohiopyle, Confluence, Rockwood and Meyersdale.

A public meeting to kick off the project and gain feedback from community stakeholders will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at St. Rita's Roman Catholic Church social hall, 116. S. Second St., Connellsville. The meeting will focus on West Newton, Connellsville and Ohiopyle.

A second meeting, focusing on Confluence, Rockwood and Meyersdale, will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Meyersdale Fire Hall, 202 Main St.

An overview of the project and a schedule will be presented. Attendees will offer input on the unique opportunities and challenges facing their communities.

The Trail Town Program, an economic development initiative of The Progress Fund, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and Preservation Pennsylvania, will sponsor the Trail Towns Preservation Plan project meetings.

Cathy McCollom, director of the Trail Town Program, said, "The Trail Towns are replete with historical significance and we hope to preserve these rich cultural and architectural assets for residents and future generations. We know from our research that the users of the Great Allegheny Passage seek authentic communities still retaining that small-town charm."

"We want to find out what is important to the community," Michael Edwards, executive director of the Connellsville Redevelopment Authority said.

The Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation, Preservation Pennsylvania and the Preserve America Program of the National Park Service have provided a planning grant to survey the towns and determine the preservation needs of the Trail Towns.

Edwards said Clarion Associates, of Colorado, a nationally renowned preservation planning firm, will assist throughout the project. "Clarion will base a lot of their work on what we want saved. All six communities will be involved, and components of each will be included."

The study will be completed this year.

"We encourage everyone involved in the communities -- residents, trail users, business owners and municipal officials -- to present the challenges and issues regarding buildings that are important to the communities," McCollom said.



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