Connellsville earns ‘scenic achievement’ award from Pittsburgh group | TribLIVE.com
Regional

Connellsville earns ‘scenic achievement’ award from Pittsburgh group

Patrick Varine
1664541_web1_gtr-ConnellAward2-091219
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh artist Jeremy Raymer poses for a photo on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in front of the second of three walls he is painting, part of a mural in downtown Connellsville commissioned by the Fayette County Cultural Trust.
1664541_web1_gtr-ConnellAward1-091219
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh artist Jeremy Raymer poses for a photo on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in front of the second of three walls he is painting, part of a mural in downtown Connellsville commissioned by the Fayette County Cultural Trust.
1664541_web1_gtr-ConnellAward7-091219
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
The first of three walls has been painted to show the Connellsville train station.
1664541_web1_gtr-ConnellAward5-091219
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh artist Jeremy Raymer poses for a photo with his paint palette on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in Connellsville.
1664541_web1_gtr-ConnellAward8-091219
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh artist Jeremy Raymer work on the second of three walls he is painting on the Italian Independent Social Club in Connellsville, part of a mural commissioned by the Fayette County Cultural Trust. Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019
1664541_web1_gtr-ConnellAward6-091219
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
The first of three walls has been painted to show the Connellsville train station.
1664541_web1_gtr-ConnellAward4-091219
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
Jeremy Raymer’s three-wall mural on the Italian Independent Social Club in Connellsville will depict scenes of the city’s mining history and Italian-American community.
1664541_web1_gtr-ConnellAward3-091219
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh artist Jeremy Raymer poses for a photo on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in front of the second of three walls he is painting, part of a mural in downtown Connellsville commissioned by the Fayette County Cultural Trust.

Connellsville’s reputation is that of a post-industrial town, and as the former “coal and coke capital” of the United States.

But city officials looking to pay homage to its history — while also casting an eye to the future — are being recognized for their efforts.

The city will receive the inaugural Community Scenic Achievement Award in October from Scenic Pittsburgh, a local environmental and civic advocacy group. The award is given to a community that has “demonstrated a consistent, long-term and visionary commitment to protecting and promoting their scenic resources,” according to a news release.

For city manager Vern Ohler, it’s the product of a younger council with “millennial ideas.”

“They’ve really marketed the city well. They know what people want, and what can bring them in,” Ohler said.

That group includes Mayor Greg Lincoln.

“I’ve never seen anyone as proactive for this town as he is,” Ohler said.

Lincoln said the award is the result of “a lot of work from residents in the city and different groups who all have the same attitude of making the city better and moving forward in a positive manner.”

“When I became mayor, I wanted to open the city up, have it be inviting and allow anyone interested to be part of that process,” he said.

The city adopted a comprehensive plan in April that focuses on further development of Connellsville’s pedestrian-friendly downtown area.

As for the “scenic” aspects of the award, the city sits along the Youghiogheny River and is situated near the rolling hills that lead southeast toward state game lands, Ohiopyle and the Bear Run Nature Reserve.

The city also has a rich resource in the Great Allegheny Passage trail.

“We’re one of the few towns where the trail actually runs through it,” Ohler said. “Most have it sort of on the outskirts.”

The trail includes Third Street, which brings it near the Italian Independent Social Club, where Pittsburgh artist Jeremy Raymer was busy on Sept. 11 paying homage to the city’s mining history and Italian-American community.

Raymer was commissioned by the Fayette County Cultural Trust to create a 4,000-square-foot mural on three sides of the building. One completed wall shows the Connellsville train station. A second, unfinished wall will show detail of a coal miner hard at work.

Below, Raymer talks about the task of creating a mural that captures a community’s spirit.

Cultural trust executive director Daniel Cocks said collaborations like the one with Raymer “are very important for any community development initiative, and Connellsville has proven that working together produces positive results.”

Lincoln said Raymer’s work is “unbelievable. He’s a very, very talented artist. Plus, that mural is basically in the center of our western downtown area, and everyone who comes by on the trail will be able to see it.”

Mike Dawida, executive director of Scenic Pittsburgh, said the city “is leading the way, and showing how communities in the region can provide economic opportunity and quality of life for their residents by taking advantage of what makes them beautiful and unique.”

Scenic Pittsburgh will present Connellsville officials with the Community Scenic Achievement Award at a 5 p.m. ceremony, Oct. 16 at the Italian Independent Social Club, 400 W. Crawford Ave.

“It’s really, really amazing to be recognized by an organization from Pittsburgh,” Lincoln said. “They discovered us just searching on Google. We started sort of making a name for ourselves, and that reached all the way to Scenic Pittsburgh.”

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Regional
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.