Water a 'Way of Life’ for Fredericktown
Washington PA Observer Reporter
4 August 2012
FREDERICKTOWN – Fredericktown had a head start on efforts to
refocus attention on the Monongahela River when conservationists
came calling last year while searching for towns willing to make
better use of the waterway to rebuild their economies.
Local leaders had already formed the Maxwell Basin Recreation Area
to hold events to draw visitors off a major highway that bypasses
Fredericktown and Millsboro about a year before the Pennsylvania
Environmental Council decided to expand its River Town Program,
said Fredericktown businessman Dennis Slagle.
“We were ahead of the game,” Slagle said Friday, a day before
Three Rivers Dock Dogs would hold a weekend of competitions at a
“We have more to work with,” he said.
Fredericktown is further along in terms of holding festivals than
the five other towns in Washington, Fayette and Greene counties
that signed onto the program, said Lindsay Baxter, a council
“It’s an interesting town because so many people go there to the
marinas, but not so many of them were taking advantage of the
(other) businesses,” Baxter said.
That has improved, Slagle said, because the Mon River Towns
program is working.
“It’s been a good summer,” said Mike Starkey, meat manager at
Fredericktown Butcher Shop along Route 88 at the gateway to a
string of marinas along Ten Mile Creek, which spills into the Mon.
“It’s the boaters, most definitely,” Starkey said.
Morgan Boyle, co-owner of Greene Cove Yacht Club along Ten Mile in
nearby Jefferson Township, said he can tell business has grown by
the number of “different faces” he’s been seeing at the marina
with 230 boat slips.
“It’s good for the area,” Boyle said of the River Towns program.
Funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation of Pittsburgh,
the program was launched a few years ago among several communities
along the Allegheny River. The second generation was begun in
February 2011 along Pennsylvania’s upper Mon Valley, Baxter said.
She said River Towns focuses on helping communities recognize the
rivers are assets that need to be protected.
“It’s part of their economy, way of life,” she said.
The project begins with forming a business action team to take a
walk through each town and look at everything with a “fresh set of
eyes,” Baxter said.
The short-term goals include improving the landscape and then the
team works on adding road signs to connect the towns. A new
$200,000 grant will be used for business facade improvements that
require a financial contribution from the building owners.
The other Washington County town in the program, California, is
working to create a river trail as railroad tracks hug the
riverbank there, Baxter said. Rices Landing and Greensboro have
signed onto the program in Greene County and Brownsville and Point
Marion are the Fayette County members.
Another indication that business has improved in the Fredericktown
area is construction of a new Dollar General store near the
marinas, said Slagle, owner of Beegraphix, a creative apparel
“The atmosphere in the area is better than it’s ever been,” he
The Three Rivers Dock Dogs event, which involves measuring the
distance dogs can jump into the water, will be held at Greene Cove
from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. For
more information on local events, visit www.maxwellbasin.com.
Copyright Observer Publishing Co.