Unlocking Armstrong County: River Journey Continues

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
19 September 2014
The longest journey for the Allegheny River Development Corp. is over. After two years of trying, the group successfully negotiated a sea of federal red tape and won approval that allows it to use private funds to pay for operation of the river locks in Armstrong County. It would be great to be able to say that the hard part is behind the ARDC. Unfortunately, we're not certain that is the case.

Opening the locks will take money — an estimated $150,000 will have to be raised each year. Pontoon raffles and other small-time fundraisers are not going to get it done.

The ARDC is going to have to ramp up its fundraising efforts — specifically targeting business interests that can afford to throw more than $20 a pop into the donation pot. It may not be that hard a sell, given the clear economic impact opening the locks should have when boaters are able to venture into our area to spend their dollars.

But there are other problems to navigate even if fundraising is successful. Boaters who went through the locks this summer complained that the condition of the locks made the trip slow going. The federal government has to make a commitment to maintain the locks to keep trips on the Upper Allegheny attractive for boaters.

That, however, is a problem to be addressed later. Now the effort must be on developing a revenue stream that will be consistently available to keep the locks open from year to year. It won't be easy, but neither was the journey that got us to this point.

Read more: http://triblive.com/opinion/editorials/6805992-74/locks-journey-river#ixzz3Dshd2d3K