WARREN, Pa. – The Warren County Development Association, has been awarded a $75,000 grant from DCED’s “Marketing to Attract Tourists” program.
The grant will be used to solicit and fund proposals for a combination of marketing and engineering studies focused on the redevelopment of several key areas around the Kinzua Reservoir to improve economic development and historic preservation.
“I couldn’t be more excited about this project and the grant award,” Eggleston said. “This is the perfect time to bring all of the relevant entities together to create a focused redevelopment plan for these key areas around the reservoir and dam.”
It was applied for in conjunction with the Warren County Commissioners and Senator Scott Hutchinson’s office, and the application was designed and submitted by Commissioner Jeff Eggleston, with assistance from WCDA Executive Director Jim Decker.
The project will involve creating RFPs for two separate consulting contracts.
The first is for a hospitality consultant to produce a market study and strategic plan for the Kinzua region which will focus on Kinzua Beach, Kinzua Point Information Center, Wolf Run Marina, and the Trails at Jakes Rocks. That project will include market research and study of the current and future utilization of those areas by tourists and local patrons, gathering community input on local needs and interests related to those areas, producing preliminary plans based on that research and input, and including preliminary engineering on those concepts to create an actionable strategy.
Once the first project is complete, the subsequent plan will be used to solicit regional developers for public/private projects to rejuvenate and perhaps create new amenities around that region. That process will also include collaborations with local, state, and federal authorities as well as local nonprofit and community-based organizations to guide and support the redevelopment of the Kinzua region.
The second consulting contract will be to study and document the utilization of the Trails at Jakes Rocks and how they could be further developed and expanded based on the demonstrated market need and economic impact.
Andy Georgakis, sales and service manager of the Warren Cycle Shop said, “We truly have a tremendous and unmatched outdoor experience whether you are riding a bicycle on the trails or utilizing the waterways by boat. This grant will be a final and very important component to bring more people into the region.”
The overall concept was developed by the Kinzua Regional Marketing Initiative, which is an ad hoc committee of community leaders who have continued the work of the Marketing Taskforce to improve tourism and marketing in Warren County with a focus on the Kinzua region.
That group includes Dan Glotz, the County Planning Director; Piper Van Ord, owner of Allegheny Outfitters; Georgakis, Eggleston and Decker.
The Kinzua Regional Marketing Initiative was also developed in collaboration with the Allegheny National Forest and the Army Corps of Engineers, who both wrote letters of support for the grant request, as well as the Warren County Visitor’s Bureau.
“The Forest Service is very excited to work with local partners on the Kinzua Regional Marketing Initiative,” said Rich Hatfield, Forest Service District Ranger. “We are very appreciative for the efforts of the Warren County Commissioners to secure this grant.”
For the grant award to be successful, the committee had to work closely with Hutchinson’s Office who assisted in the grant submittal and support.
“The Senator’s office and the staff was an absolute pleasure to work with and I can’t say enough good things about their effort in this,” Eggleston said.
Decker added, “This grant award provides the resources necessary to obtain a professional, unbiased and informed assessment of what types of development would be financially feasible to be pursued for implementation that would enhance the positive impact outdoor recreation and tourism has on our local economy as well as the Warren County livability factor.”
The RFPs soliciting the consultant proposals will be released within the next few weeks.