Allegheny • Clarion River Valley Region (Blueprint Initiative)

Posts in category Blueprint Initiative

Trail Town Kiosk Panels Approved

The design for the informational kiosk has been approved. The 3-panel kiosk will be located at the entrance to the bike trail at the end of town.

Click here to view the kiosk panels.

Goal 3 Meeting – 9.24.15

Marilyn & William McCall, Co-Chairs

Old Business

Foxburg Update


  1. Business District Facades – Marilyn McCall, Lisa & Sadye Bartley, Nadine Drake Leads
    • Color Schemes
    • Downtown Business District Inventories
    • 2015 Action Plan – Establish Guidelines for Facade Improvement Program
    • Banners for 3 Communities
    • Inventory of Utility Poles
    • Business District Planning Study
  2. Incentive Programs for Property Owners – Marilyn McCall, Chuck & Beth Gisselbrecht
    • Local Economic Revitalization Tax Act (LERTA)
    • 2015 Action Plan – Plass LERTA ordinances; Parker Completed
    • Others Identified?
  3. BLIGHT – Bill McCall, Chuck & Beth Gisselbrecht
    • 2015 Action Plan – Establish guidelines for blighted properties
    • Blight Definition
    • Blight Inventory
    • Blight Study ($8,000-$10,000)
    • Blight Plan
  4. Homeowners Programs – Marilyn McCall, Rev. Gary Brown, Habitat for Humanity
    • Update by Gary Brown
    • 2015 Action Plan – Explore first-time homeowners program
    • Habitat for Humanity
  5. Hughes Park & Parker Recreation Center – Marilyn McCall, Nancy Marano, Amy Whitehill, Rev. Gary Brown
    • Hughes Park
      2015 Action Plan – Secure Funding to Develop Improvements to the Emlenton Hughes Park Site Plan
    • Parker Recreation Center
      2015 Action Plan – Explore Developing a Recreation Center

      1. Catholic Church Property sold
      2. Level Works Property sold
  6. Land & Building Acquisition – Marilyn McCall, Nadine Drake
  7. Workforce Development – Marilyn McCall, Lisa Bartley
    • 2015 Action Plan – Hold workforce development meetings with A-C Valley School District and C4
    • 2 New Programs – On Hold at A-C Valley School Superintendent’s Request
    • School Counts Program
  8. Student Municipal Liaison – Marilyn McCall, Cindy Rapp
    • Counsel Appointments
    • Committee Involvement
  9. Other
    • Letters of Support – Marilyn McCall – NEED FOR REGIONAL PROJECTS
    • Parker Comprehensive Plan Update – Marilyn McCall
    • Cell Phone Service on the Trail

New Business

Next Meeting is Thursday, October 22nd at 6:00 p.m. in Allegheny Grille unless otherwise noted.

Blueprint Core Team Meeting – October 29th at 2:00 p.m. in the Crawford Center

Action Items

  • We will continue to promote and pursue year-round multi-faceted tourism opportunities by leveraging of our diverse natural resources to build new nature based business opportunities and expand current businesses and enterprises.
  • Further partnerships with the Allegheny-Clarion Valley School District to diversify our educational system focusing on opportunities that take advantage and enhance upon our regional recreational/natural resources that will provide our youth development/leadership potential and will entice them to stay in the region upon graduation.
  • Our region envisions opportunities for our young residents to thrive and be successful. Through mentoring programs, co-ops or vocational technical programs we will develop businesses that can and have been successful hear such as a canoe factory, or other specialty nature-based businesses, or an environmental education center that provides activity-oriented programs for students, teachers, adult groups and individuals.

3 Concurrent Initiatives

Pennsylvania Blueprint Communities

Communities Involved: Emlenton, Foxburg, Parker

Sponsors: Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC), and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh

Local Coordinators: Oil Region Alliance – Deb Lutz, Kim Harris

Blueprint Communities is a revitalization and leadership initiative that serves as a catalyst for creating sustainable communities in our region. It is based on sound local and regional planning that a includes clear vision for the community and a comprehensive implementation strategy as well as encouraging coordinated investments in targeted communities by public and private funders.

Nature Based Place Making

Communities Involved: Oil City, Franklin, Emlenton, Foxburg

Sponsors: Pennsylvania Downtown Center (PDC), PA Dept. ofConservation & Natural Resources

Local Coordinators: Council on Greenways & Trails – Debra Frawley; Oil City Main Street -Kathy Bailey; Oil Region Alliance – Kim Harris, Deb Lutz

Nature-Based Placemaking (NBP) begins in communities where a natural asset – a park, a trail, a river, a lake, etc. – is recognized and developed as an economic opportunity in the community. Outputs for this project will be:

  1. Hospitality training curriculum for businesses and their staff to know more about the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail and the Allegheny River Water Trail and how they can benefit
  2. Business to business networking forum for business leaders
  3. List of new business opportunities by taking inventory of businesses assessments and of each community and needs of current businesses.

Trail Town Program®

Communities Involved: Titusville, Oil City, Emlenton, Foxburg (Franklin in 20l5)

Sponsors: The Progress Fund/Trail Town Program , Erie to Pittsburgh Trail Alliance, on Council Greenways & Trails

Local Coordinators: Council on Greenways & Trails – Debra Frawley

The Trail Town Program® (TTP) is an economic development and community revitalization initiative working in “Trail Towns” along the major trail corridors, now including the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail. TTP works to address trail-wide issues and opportunities through regional to cooperation and build the connection “between trail and towns.” It works with partners across the region to ensure that trail communities and businesses maximize the economic potential of the trail.

TTP provides “six services” to its communities

  1. Business Assistance & Development
  2. Marketing
  3. Economic Research
  4. Community Connections
  5. Real Estate Development
  6. Small Business Loan

Goal 4 Updates

8.27.15 Jeff, Paul and John met with Jason Wiles of Wiles Electronics at the CC to assess sound system/visuals needs. Jason will email pricing for good-better-best scenarios in a few weeks.
Crawford Productions Sound Quote

Joyce brought the idea of the Christmas House Tour to the Emlenton Civic Club and they are not interested in doing it. The sound system at the Crawford Center is owned by the Civic Club and they have said that they do not want to continue with it. You should call Tina Zychowski (724-867-0191). She is the person who is in charge of the sound system.

8.28.15 Increased Cultural Events: The Beatles Tribute Band, which was a huge success in 2014, will return to the CC, Nov. 14 at 7 PM, brought to the community by Barry Louise. It is Barry’s wish that proceeds be evenly split between the Emlenton VFD and the Blueprint Goal# 4 Committee, specifically for CC AC, sound and stage improvements.

Goal 3 Meeting – 8.27.15

The Blueprint Community Initiative’s Goal #3 Team (Develop the Regions as a Well – Know Destination for Raising a Family ) has received cost estimates from two firms that toured Parker and Emlenton.

The first estimate, from EG&G/CT Consultants, was priced at $100,000 for Parker and $98,000 for Emlenton. This would provide an elaborate plan and is considered way out of the ballpark on price — or in other words, it is unaffordable.

The 2nd estimate from Mullin & Lonergan offers us 3 options, which are described below:

Alternative 1 – Expand upon the existing Blueprint Community Plan and identifynew “impact” projects for each community that aligns with the objectives of the Strategic Plan. This alternative would be an exercise in”project planning” rather than a comprehensive assessment of each community’s needs. The firm would take stock of existing conditions and meet with downtown and municipal officials to identify one block or a series of buildings that constitute an “impact” project for each community. An impact project is a multi-component, comprehensive project that addresses commercial, residential, and public infrastructure needs. For example, there may be one or more buildings in the downtown that would be suitable for substantial rehabilitation. The project may involve ground floor commercial rehab with rehabilitation of upper floor space for residential apartments. Another component of the project may involve streetscape improvements and/or green way/tourism/recreational enhancements. Yet another component may involve reinvestment in each downtown (Main Street Program) or residential neighborhood immediately contiguous to a downtown (Elm Street project). The goal would be to assemble State, County, and local financing to carry out a concentrated project in each of the downtowns. A realistic budget for this type of assignment would be in the $25,000 – $30,000 range. This type of study could be completed in about 6 months.

Alternative #2: Implementable Comprehensive Plan. This would involve a complete update to each municipality’s Comprehensive Plan to meet the PA Municipalities Planning Code. However, the plan would be prepared with a clear emphasis on the state’s new implementable planning approach. This approach would identify key projects, based on community input within each municipality, and provide a detailed road map towards implementation to ensure that each project is completed. Typically, each municipality would identify two or three high priority projects that would be targeted for implementation.

The approach would involve:

  • Phase I: Pre-Planning would consist of a process to learn about current community assets and challenges facing the municipalities. In this first step,the firm’s team members would conduct a drive-through of each of the communities noting their impressions (as outsiders) of what appears to work well and what doesn’t. Their findings would be hand-illustrated on a series of large scale maps used as the basis for the first Community Meeting in each community. During this engagement, they would present their findings to the attendees and listen to their feedback, and ask if they missed any important issues.
  • Phase II: Planning would involve an in-depth analysis of data resulting in the core of the comprehensive plan. Three Community Meetings would be scheduled during this phase and all work would be vetted to gain initial feedback and refine presentations. The end product of this phase would be a draft implementable, comprehensive plan.
  • Phase III: Design would include the creative community design work. Once the Phase II work is well underway, the firm’s design team members would initiate urban and community design examples illustrating how specific components of the land use patterns could be enhanced in each community.Schematic drawings would be used to convey best practices in urban design, with thought given to how design concepts could influence future zoning ordinance updates. The work generated in this phase would be folded into the Comprehensive Plan (Phase II).
  • Phase IV: Adoption of Plan would include the Municipal Planning Code required steps to adopt the Comprehensive Plan by each municipality.

A realistic budget for this type of assignment would be in the $70,000 -$80,000 range. A project of this magnitude would require about a year to complete.

Alternative #3: State Main Street/Elm Street Plan. This alternative would be designed specifically to achieve PA DCED’s Main Street and/or Elm Street designation for each business district and/or surrounding residential neighborhood. The firm would assist in preparing an application for Main Street and/or Elm Street Planning funds.

The components of this plan would include:

  • Development of an organizational vision/mission statement
  • Preparation of a base map of the study area
  • Surveys and/or interviews of property owners, business owners, stakeholders, residents, community based organizations and City/Borough officials
  • Assessment of the local market trade area
  • A design element that includes guidelines and procedures for a local façade incentive program
  • Development of a 5-year strategy that includes implementation timelines, budget estimates, and revenue projections
  • Development of a long-term fundraising plan
  • Recommendations for zoning and comprehensive plan revisions
  • A clean,green, and safe element to address security, litter, graffiti removal,maintenance, and upkeep of existing structures

State Main Street/Elm Street planning grants are funded at $25,000. Once funded, A State Main Street Plan could be completed in 8 months.

It is possible to blend features from each of the above alternatives to create a scope of service that addresses each municipality’s needs and is within the community’s budget.
The company suggests a follow-up telephone call or meeting to discuss this letter. They may also want to have a discussion with PA DCED representatives,such as Denny Puko, to assist in guiding and applying for state planning grant funds. Once the scope of service is finalized, the firm would be happy to submit a formal proposal or price quotation.

If you have questions or comments or concerns regarding the outcome of this meeting, please email Bill or Marilyn McCall at

Goal 4 Meeting – 8.24.15

Updates posted here.


In Attendance: Richard & Barbara Carr, Sherry Dreher, Paul Newbury, Jeff Powell, Lori Russell, John & Kathy Soroka

The Committee reviewed items from the 5.18.15 meeting, noting projects that have been completed or are in progress.

Pumping Jack Museum: To gain visibility, promote awareness and increase visitation:

  • Use three display cases in Crawford Center hallway – Completed
  • Paul Newbury offered window display space in the ‘Antiques’ building – In Progress
  • John Dreher offered window display space at the drugstore – In Progress
  • Greater use of electronic media: FB, Blog, website activity. Facebook is now active. Previous newsletter material can be used for a blog and on website. Website needs to be regularly updated.
  • Tri-fold displays at Berry’s Canoe Livery and other Emlenton and Foxburg locations – Further discussion included using existing PR materials and getting them distributed.
  • Investigate adding old one-room schoolhouses that have become private residences to museum’s literature (walking/driving tour) – Further discussion
  • Museum’s postcard book is in production – Include Facebook logo, address and website address

Emlenton Mill: Site has been cleaned; no new development plans yet

Emlenton Jail: This has possibilities. Richard relayed that there may be some funds ($400+) remaining from a Columbia Gas grant to further clean-up/repair work.

Christmas House Tour : Joyce will introduce idea of a future Xmas House Tour to the Emlenton Civic Club with the understanding that this will be a three-community event. – Awaiting update.

Showboat’: This was an annual local talent/entertainment show that once packed the Crawford Center. Usually held in late March. Jeff Powell will begin preliminary inquiries to see if it can be revived, adding another cultural event to the region. Proceeds from ticket sales could possibly be used to fund other Goal 4 activities. – Preliminary inquiries have begun.

Crawford Center Infrastructure: The largest auditorium in the immediate region based on seating capacity. A new committee had already been formed to address serious infrastructure needs. The members are: Glenn Cochran (ORA), Nancy Marano, Paul Newbury, Jeff Powell, Lori Russell, John & Kathy Soroka. A grant to fund air-conditioning purchase/installation is in process. Paul, Jeff and John are beginning meetings with stage tech (lighting, curtains) and sound system providers to assess needs and receive estimates. Once estimates are in hand, funding will be sought through private and public channels. It was recommended and is highly desirable to have this group become a sub-committee of Goal #4.

Increased Cultural Activities: While not an official part of Blueprint Goal 4 efforts, it is interesting to note increased activities: The “Legacy” play by Julie Powell at the Crawford Center; a voice recital/performance by regional students of Kathy Soroka and Kathy herself; the First Annual Beer/Wine Festival in October in Emlenton.

Goal 4 Meeting – 5.18.15

Pumping Jack Museum – Joyce Beikert reported that the museum Board is not receptive to any thought of moving the collection to a Main Street location. To gain visibility, promote awareness and increase visitation, new ideas were introduced:

  • Use three display cases in Crawford Center hallway
  • Paul Newbury offered window display space in the ‘Antiques’ building
  • John Dreher offered window display space at the drugstore
  • Greater use of electronic media: FB, Blog, website activity, etc.
  • Tri-fold displays at Berry’s Canoe Livery and other Emlenton and Foxburg locations.
  • Investigate adding old one-room schoolhouses that have become private residences to museum’s literature (walking/driving tour)
  • Museum’s postcard book is in production

Emlenton Mill – Paul reported that the Newbury’s are awaiting DEP approval for asbestos removal before any clean-up can happen. Once the site is cleared, architects can determine what construction possibilities exist.

Emlenton Jail – John will connect with Nancy Marano to investigate this as a possible tourism site.

Christmas House Tour – Joyce will introduce idea of a future Xmas House Tour to the Emlenton Civic Club with the understanding that this will be a three-community event.

‘Showboat’ – This was an annual local talent/entertainment show that once packed the Crawford Center. Usually held in late March. Jeff Powell will begin preliminary inquiries to see if it can be revived, adding another cultural event to the region. Proceeds from ticket sales could possibly be used to fund other Goal 4 activities.

Goal 4 Meeting – 3.20.15

From the Strategic Plan:

Goal #4: Enhance / Promote Art, Culture and Heritage

Outcome 1: Increase Promotion of Arts, Culture in the AC Valley Region

Outcome 2: Increase the number of historic sites that reflect our heritage

Outcome 3: Increase the number of Cultural Events offered Annually

Five-year Objective related to this Goal:

A. Develop a new promotional piece focusing on the Arts, Culture and Heritage of the Allegheny-Clarion River Valley Region. Distribute this in the Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Erie/Buffalo Markets.

The consensus of the committee was that this approach would not be the most effective way to go:

  1. The cultural organizations in the region see very few visitors from these markets. This is impractical and we cannot compete with these larger markets on culture alone.
  2. The committee agrees that the main driver for visitation and capturing people to explore cultural amenities is the completion of the missing Allegheny River Trail link between Emlenton and Foxburg.
  3. A suggestion was made to explore having the major regional papers shift their event listings from date-specific to location specific; i.e. ACRVR (Allegheny-Clarion River Valley Region), Oil City, Franklin, etc.

B. Develop a new venue that reflects the region’s heritage

  1. Pumping Jack Museum – will its Board consider seeking funding to purchase a new ‘Main Street’ location both for ease of access and expansion? Some answer to this in April. If so, who will help them proceed? Use this new venue also to display historical items of interest related to Foxburg and Parker.
    Advantage:  Museum is already established 501c3.
  2. Emlenton Mill site – future use – Newbury’s vision is music-oriented (outdoor concert venue)
  3. Develop Emlenton Jail Cell as a tourist site.

C. Increase attendance at cultural events. Develop a lecture series to compliment concert performances.

  1. The committee was unanimous in suggesting that the $5000 be used to create an ACRVR website with an identity system (branding logo) and cultural blog.
  2. Explore having the entire ACRVR become designated as a part of the PA Wilds to take advantage of their promotional efforts.
  3. Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts does not have the capacity to expand offerings. Increasing attendance can be helped by local participation in attending and helping spread the word through social media/email.

Suggestion for revitalizing “Christmas in Oil Country”-type house tours, dinner theaters, or dramas based on local historical figures.

Attendees urged to list established cultural events in the surrounding area (perhaps not well advertised) to compile at next meeting so we can determine needs.

Area Events

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