Heritage Region Celebrates Year of Progress and Partnerships
Photos and Story by Rick Hiduk
Board members and staff of the Endless Mountains Heritage Region (EMHR) met on Oct. 4 at American Legion Post 510 in Black Walnut, Laceyville, where they were joined by associate members, project partners and other guests for their annual meeting.
EMHR executive director Cain Chamberlin thanked members of the Kitson Arts Alliance in attendance for helping to make the Bradford County Summer Parks series a success by coordinating entertainment. Other well-received endeavors in 2019 included the annual Youth Heritage Sojourn and the Rivers of Our Region presentations in Tunkhannock, Montrose and Dushore.
In addition to conducting a parks and trails series in Sullivan County in 2020, the EMHR will prepare a special purpose study and meet with farm bureaus in its four-county region. “A lot of our agricultural initiatives had fallen by the wayside,” Chamberlin remarked, “and we want to get back into that.”
Representatives of organizations that have benefited from the EMHR’s annual mini-grant program took turns providing updates on what they have accomplished with their respective funding, including Rail-Trail Council project manager Lynn Conrad; Elaine Poost of the Bradford County Regional Arts Council; Bradford County Historical Society Museum curator Matt Carl; Bill Brasington, director of interactive learning for the Troy Historical Society; Erica Rogler, executive director of the Wyoming County Cultural Center; Tunkhannock artist Bob Lizza; Keystone College grants director Liz Ratchford; and Candace Sturdevant of the PA Route 6 Alliance. PP Bliss Gospel Songwriters Museum board president Wendy Carrington sent a report on progress at their site in Orwell Township.
Poost shared her excitement about a new program series for preschool children that focuses on nature and the outdoors. Classes have begun at the Stohl Nature Center in Wysox and will branch out from there. EMHR funding will also be used to enhance the Wyalusing Community Core Trail Project with interpretive signage, she noted.
Rogler is overseeing Lizza’s production of 35 four-by-sixty-inch hand-painted panels depicting the Nicholson Bridge as it looked about 100 years ago that will be applied to the south exterior wall of the Wyoming County Cultural Center beginning late October.
Sturdevant was key speaker for the event, providing an update on the Route 6 Façade & Signage Program, for which her organization hopes to procure $133,000 from the PA DCNR specifically for Bradford and Wyoming counties.
In addition to business and property owners, municipal governments are also eligible for the $5,000 grants, which require a 100 percent match. The program was developed by the PA Route 6 Alliance for adaptive reuse of additional structures, bringing substandard buildings up to code, and simply giving others a face-lift to enhance commercial development and foster community pride.
New EMHR officers elected for 2020 include Kevin Abrams of Bradford County, who will serve as the new president; Rogler of Wyoming County, who will remain vice president; and Chris Brown, who replaces Joyce Kerrick as secretary/treasurer.
Interested readers may contact the Endless Mountains Heritage Region for more information on programs and grants at 570-265-1528 or log on to www.EMHeritage.org.