Funds Needed to Designate Allegheny River as a Pennsylvania Water Trail

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 
8 October 2015
By Brad Pedersen

Armstrong County officials are turning to communities along the Allegheny River for money needed to designate the river as a Pennsylvania Water Trail.

Officials are asking each of the 21 communities that border the river to contribute $250 toward the final $3,000 needed to reach the $21,000 goal to start working toward the state designation, said Kevin Andrews, director of the Armstrong County Tourist Bureau.

“We're getting very close to our mark, so we're hoping these donations will give us that final boost by the end of the year,” Andrews said. “We know not every community will be able to contribute the full amount, but we're hoping they will contribute something.”

The designation aims to bolster the region's economy through promotion of regional businesses and attractions along the rivers with maps and other information through the Fish and Boat Commission.

Andrews has fielded calls from several communities asking about the designation, but so far, the bureau has gotten only two donations: $250 from West Kittanning Council and $100 from the East Brady Area Development Council.

“Any extra money we end up collecting will go toward making more maps and printing some waterproof maps,” Andrews said.

The project has received $18,000 toward the project. It includes $5,000 in Marcellus Shale Legacy funding from the Armstrong County Commissioners, $5,000 from the Armstrong County Tourist Bureau, $2,000 from the Clarion County Commissioners, and $1,000 from the Baker Family Charitable Fund through Community Foundation Serving the Heart of Western Pennsylvania and a pledge of $5,000 in staff work from the tourist bureau and county planning and Geographic Information Systems departments.

The money will be used to form a county-wide steering committee and conduct a feasibility study and develop a regional map of river access points, along with nearby restaurants, businesses and other amenities. Once the work is done, it must be approved by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the map will be published in electronic and paper formats.

Andrews hopes to collect enough money by the end of the year so officials can begin working toward getting the designation and maps in place by next summer.
“The Water Trail designation will raise the visibility of the businesses and attractions along the river in Armstrong County,” Andrews said. “We're hoping it might bring more people into the area that might not have come here otherwise.”

West Kittanning council made a pledge Monday night, which Councilman Cliff Neal said he believes is an investment in the entire region.

“When the trail is developed, especially through Ford City and Kittanning, it will benefit all of West Kittanning because people will stop, stay and eat here,” Neal said. “The river towns, themselves, will benefit the most but, really, this is a good thing for all of Armstrong County.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or
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