River Coalition Planted Seeds for Projects
21 October 2015
By Chris Buckley
By the middle of next year, boat launches should be opening in
Monongahela and Charleroi, attracting tourists to the two
They will be built near the Noble J. Dick Aquatorium in
Monongahela and the former Charleroi football stadium.
The genesis for those projects can be traced back to the first
Monongahela River Coalition meeting Sept. 3, 2013, at California
More than three dozen municipal leaders attended from 13
communities nestled along the Monongahela River — including
Charleroi, Monongahela, Brownsville, West Brownsville, California
and Belle Vernon.
Also on hand were representatives from the Washington County
Chamber of Commerce, Greene County Tourism and Laurel Highlands
Visitors Bureau along with the Mon Valley Progress Council and the
Washington, Fayette and Greene county Redevelopment Authorities
and West Virginia University and California University of
The coalition that was formed created a five-year plan titled
“Capturing the Opportunities in the Mon River Valley.”
“We went to all 13 communities and said give us your priorities
with reference to riverfront and tourism, and we looked at
commonalities,” said Cathy McCollom, director of the River Town
Some priorities included more boat and canoe access locations,
canoe and kayak rental businesses and uses for vacant and
The boat and canoe access launches are being built with $247,000
in Act 13 Impact Fee funding provided by Washington County. That
fund is created from Marcellus shale impact fees.
The funding will also be used to assist West Brownsville in
planning for the use of its riverfront.
The tourism agencies are providing funding to erect community name
signs along the rivers.
The coalition also started Sustainable Marketplace for Art,
Artisans, Recreational and Trending Businesses to actively pursue
small businesses in those areas.
A part of the SMAART program is the first Mon River Valley
Entrepreneurial Business Plan Contest. The project will award
three $10,000 grants to the successful business plans to help them
open a business in one of the current Mon River Towns.
Applications are due by Oct. 30, and the awards will be made in
More information about the contest can be found online at
Led by Cathy McCollom and Donna Holdorf, executive director of the
National Road Heritage Corridor, the Mon River Valley Coalition
has completed its second full year of the five-year plan adopted
in September 2013 and has successfully addressed all of the plan's
The coalition meets quarterly on the Cal U campus.
The five-year plan is about to be updated. The coalition will hold
a meeting from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 11 at the Charleroi borough
building “to chart a course for the next five year,” McCollom
“Each community in the coalition will have the opportunity to list
its goals and priorities,” McCollom said. “We're going to look at
what we still need to do as far as projects and what to do to move
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-684-2642.
Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmonvalley/yourmonvalleymore/9296363-74/river-coalition-plan#ixzz3pBQy9sSL