Harvest Beginning At Community Garden

August 27th, 2022 Comments off

Harvest time has come to the Potter County Community Garden. Some of the gardeners’ bounty is now being shared with the public for free through a small vegetable stand at the corner of Water and West streets in Coudersport. On Saturday, Sheila Gabreski (left) from Penn State Extension and volunteer community garden manager Colleen Bray were busy tending to the grounds. Roots of the garden can be traced to a Food Insecurity Work Group headed by Dr. Mary Ann Rigas at UPMC Cole. Studies revealed that about 14 percent of Potter County’s residents are “food insecure,” defined as lacking reliable access to affordable, nutritious food.

The Potter County Commissioners, together with UPMC Cole and Penn State Extension, established the garden on a county-owned lot adjacent to the Potter County Education Center. All of the raised garden beds were reserved and each day brings harvesting of ripened tomatoes, squash and other vegetables. Garden organizers hope to expand the project next year.

Help Still Available For Rent/Utility Bills

May 20th, 2022 Comments off

Renters affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic may be eligible for financial assistance. Potter County Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Barry Hayman and Paul Heimel have designated the county’s Human Services agency to administer a federal grant to help those who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic pay for rent and utilities. Applications can be downloaded from a website here. Once an application is complete, a Potter County Human Services case manager will be in touch to offer assistance. To be eligible, a renter household must have one or more individuals who meet the following criteria:

  • Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19;
  • Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
  • Has a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median.

Full eligibility guidelines and additional information is available here. Those seeking more information can contact Jim Kockler or Kara Amidon at 814-544-7315.

Busy Agenda For Tourist/Recreation Focus Group

April 26th, 2022 Comments off

Potter County Tourism and Recreation Focus Group members heard updates on Denton Hill State Park, tourist promotion activities and a homegrown effort to revitalize Main Street in Coudersport during Monday’s bimonthly meeting. A Bureau of State Parks spokesman reported that a revised solicitation for business partners to revitalize Denton Hill State Park into a four-season recreation destination will soon be issued. Contract terms have been revised to cover anywhere from 10 to 35 years; the previous draft agreement was for 10 years. Also, bidders will no longer be required to operate a downhill skiing concession as part of their business plan, although they will be encouraged to do so.

Cori Wagner and Abigail Rossman told focus group members about a series of promotional events they and a handful of other downtown business operators have been holding to bring vibrancy and commerce to the county seat. Most recent of these was a “Wine Walk” involving five Main Street businesses that drew a large turnout. Wagner and Rossman said that although the activities are being organized independently, they have been conferring with Coudersport Borough and a representative of the faltering Coudersport Area Chamber of Commerce.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Pennsylvania Lumber Museum administrator Josh Roth reviewed last weekend’s Antique Show and Sawmill Run, which saw a record turnout numbering upwards of 800 people. Roth noted that the museum has added to its staff and is planning new public events. He added that visitor interest has been strong since the museum reopened after closing during the peak of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Colleen Hanson, executive director of Visit Potter-Tioga, reported that interest in the region among tourists has reached a modern-day high, based on several of the agency’s measurements. More than 11 million people saw VPT advertisements on social media during the most recent accounting, and upwards of 5 million clicked a promotional posting to learn more. Requests for the agency’s Visitors Guides is at an all-time high, with upwards of 250 print or digital copies per day being requested.

Candace Hillyard, executive director of the Pennsylvania Route 6 Alliance, pointed out that there are opportunities for businesses to capitalize on the growing popularity of the region as a destination for bicycle enthusiasts. Details on the alliance’s Bike-Friendly Business Program are available here. Hillyard said the organization continues its promotion of a growing “Artisan Trail” pinpointing artists with businesses in close proximity to Rt. 6. The alliance also continues to make its case for State and National Scenic Byway designation for Rt. 6 in Pennsylvania. For details, click here.

Potter County Picked For National Pilot Program

April 24th, 2022 Comments off

Potter County is one of six locations selected nationwide for a yearlong pilot project to create a vibrant arts culture that can support community and economic development. Commissioner Paul Heimel and local musician and educator Arthur Metzger represented the county in the national kickoff for the “Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge: Arts & Culture as an Economic Driver” initiative, sponsored by Americans for the Arts. Potter County’s project involves the use of schools, libraries, artisans, local leaders and volunteers to integrate the arts into and tourism marketing and community planning. Last week’s kickoff will be followed by one-on-one tutorials with experts in the field to develop strategic plans. Each of the other five national pilot projects will be working on other strategies that could also benefit Potter County. These include:

  • Greenbriar County, W. Va., using the arts to promote rehabilitation, healing and recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
  • Puna Community, Hawaii, employing the arts to address poverty and strengthen a sense of community and appreciation for the local culture and environment.
  • LaCrosse County, Wisc., integrating the arts with other activities to raise awareness of the impact of climate change on rural communities.
  • Perry County, Ohio, using the arts to deepen appreciation for, and protection of, outdoor recreation and the environment.
  • Van Buren County, Mich., addressing mental illness and physical well-being with the arts, involving the court system, local governments and other partners.

Conservation District Movement Traced To Potter County

April 17th, 2022 Comments off

Potter County Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Barry Hayman and Paul Heimel honored the staff of the Potter County Conservation District while passing a resolution joining in the state legislature’s observance of April 10-16 as Conservation District Week. Potter County is the birthplace of the conservation district movement in Pennsylvania. For more than 75 years, PCCD has championed wise use of natural resources and support of agriculture, which remains the county’s leading industry. Commissioner Hayman (right), a member of the PCCD Board of Directors, presented the proclamation to district manager Jason Childs.

Groundwork Continuing For ‘NextGen911’

March 12th, 2022 Comments off

Potter County continues upgrades to its emergency communications network to pave the way for “NextGen 911.” Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Paul Heimel and Barry Hayman have approved an agreement that paves the way for a system that will reduce response times and improve interagency communications. A 2015 state law calls for all 911 systems to be upgraded to a digital (internet protocol) system. NextGen 911 provides a faster, more resilient system that allows voice, photos, videos and text messages to flow from the public to the 911 network. It also improves dispatch center management of call overload, natural disasters, and transferring of 911 calls based on location tracking.

To pave the way for NextGen 911, Potter County completed a $4 million systemwide upgrade in 2018-19. The project involved 14 communication towers with fiber-optic service, microwave relay technology and other infrastructure. Will Hunt, the county’s director of planning GIS services, reported this week that progress has been made in the building of a database of geographic information system addresses for each property in the county, which is necessary for a functional NextGen 911 system.