Archive for December, 2020

‘Revitalize Potter County’ Sets Ambitious 2021 Agenda

December 25th, 2020 Comments off

The Revitalize Potter County (RPC) Steering Committee convened last week to review its early progress and develop its 2021 work plan. Committee members have initially focused on helping small businesses cope with the coronavirus pandemic. The group is also engaged with other elements of the economy – boosting agriculture, tourism, local manufacturing, job training and community development among them. RPC was launched in May by Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Barry Hayman and Paul Heimel as “a collaborative strategy to emerge from the pandemic with our economic foundation still in place and a blueprint for community and economic development.” They’ve assigned Planning Director Will Hunt and Community Development Director Ellen Russell to spearhead the initiative.

“We’re going through an unusual time and there’s a lot at stake when it comes to the future of Potter County,” Hunt explained during a meeting of the county commissioners. “We are identifying partners and we plan to make the ‘Revitalize’ project a high priority.” RPC directly supports the county’s Project 2025, an ambitious plan to reverse the trends of steady population loss and increasing median age across Potter County.

Team members have already begun research, outreach and strategic planning to promote local farm products and advocate for local growers and producers. They’ve been conferring with multiple farm operators, including organic growers, to broaden their knowledge and sharpen their focus. The RPC team is also pulling together partners to work on a blueprint to boost tourism in Potter County, working with Visit Potter/Tioga, local business owners and community leaders.

Here are some highlights from this month’s RPC meeting:

1 — Year In Review

–Release of 2020 annual report is scheduled in mid-January. Highlights will include Small Business/Entrepreneur Workshop; CARES Act small business grants; small business/school drop-off survey and mapping; launch of multi-functional Revitalize Potter County website; Work Group structure; and Project 2025 Kickoff – a reminder of the mission to reverse population loss and steadily rising median age.

2 – Ongoing Working Initiatives

Market Village. Public input to be solicited on architect’s rendering and proposed implementation plan. Officials from Tionesta Village will be invited to speak. Looking to engage Pa. Wilds, Pa. Dept. of Community and Economic Development, other potential funding sources.

Broadband Initiative. Signal strength/coverage survey (Potter/Tioga) continues through Dec. 31; nearly 500 of the responses so far out of the total 1,000-plus from both counties are from Potter. Survey responses being plotted on Revitalize Potter County website. Continue working on strategies to support expansion of services into underserved areas outside of Tri-Co Connections footprint.

Small Business Grants. Several options being investigated, based on availability of state or federal funding.

3 – Next Steps

Partnerships. Engaging with Potter County Housing/Redevelopment Authorities, Planning Commission, Potter County Education Council to incorporate Revitalize Potter County into their work plans. Outreach with other established agencies and community organizations will follow.

–Website/Communications. Focus in November/December has been on broadband survey. Website will continue to be further developed and promoted as the focal point and primary information source for Revitalize Potter County. Facebook page, newsletter and other communication tools will be investigated.

Networking. Commissioner Heimel reaching out to rural peers and investigating best practices through state/national connections.

Professional Consulting Service. Our mission is very broad and complex. We need to consider engaging professional consulting services to guide us.

Entrepreneurship/Small Business Training. This and other options to help small businesses will be investigated in the coming year.

Work Groups. This process has been delayed, due in large part to the pandemic. Proposed work groups include: Agriculture/Forest Products (Comm. Hayman as lead); Commercial/Economic Development (Comm. Grupp as lead, Potter County Education Council has offered to assist); Tourism/Recreation (Comm. Heimel as lead); Arts & Culture (Comm. Heimel as lead); Education/Training (TBD), Broadband Expansion (Will Hunt/Ellen Russell as leads) and Health Care (TBD).

Anyone interested in sharing suggestions or comments can send an email to or call 814-274-8290, extension 209.