Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Next A.T. Community Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for Sept. 14th

The upcoming A.T. Community Advisory Committee meeting will be held Wednesday, September 14th at 6pm at the Borough Office in Duncannon.
At this meeting we will finalize the designation event date - themed "Saving Our Community from Nature Deficit Disorder" - via discussion or vote (either May 12th or June 2nd of next year) as well as discuss event-planning updates and ideas for programming, fundraising, communications/PR, or additional partnering organizations.  We will hope to cover other updates on the A.T. panel for the Susquehanna Greenway kiosk, Trails to Every Classroom and any other items the Committee would like to discuss as well.

To view a tentative event agenda assembled by lead event-planning volunteer, Mary Parry, click here.   

Monday, August 29, 2011

Appalachian Trail Community Application is IN!!

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy Mid-Atlantic Regional Office in Boiling Springs, PA today received Duncannon's Appalachian Trail Community program application.  
You can view the complete application by clicking here (PDF - 7mb).

In addition to addressing the four criteria for A.T. Community designation and a description of why Duncannon should be selected as an Appalachian Trail Community, letters of support from the following organizations were included: 

  • Mountain Club of Maryland
  • Perry County Conservation District
  • Allegheny Ridge Corporation
  • Perry County Commissioners
  • Susquenita School District
  • Perry County Planning Commission
  • Hiker Theresa Briderbeek
  • Audubon Pennsylvania
  • Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club
  • Borough of Duncannon
  • Hiker Ray "Walkinhome" Ronan
 Going forward the local Regional Partnership Committee will evaluate the request and approval should be recognized by October.  Thanks to all the Committee for their efforts in gathering support documents and assisting Fred in providing text for certain sections.  Special thanks to Fred Lauster for completing the application, pulling this all together and submitting to the ATC.  The next Committee meeting will be scheduled shortly!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Saving Our Community from Nature Deficit Disorder"

Trail Angel Mary Parry has taken the lead on designation event planning for the A.T. Community Committee and is currently in the process of lining up partner organizations and programming for the day.  The tentative date for the event will be a weekend in May or June 2012 - date confirmation will go out soon (see info below).

The theme for the event will be: "Saving Our Community from Nature Deficit Disorder" (theme inspired by Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods) and will include partners from various local and regional conservation, outdoor recreation and community-based groups.

Thoughts on event date possibilities & potential conflicts are currently: 
    a. May 12 - strong - day before Mother's Day
    b. May 19 - conflict - Trail Days Damascus, VA 
    c. May 25 - conflict - Memorial Day weekend
    d. June 2 - possible - National Trails Days, Boiling Springs Founders Day
    e. June 9 - conflict - National Get Outdoors Day, Appalachian Trail Museum Festival
Send any info on date preference to trailangelmary@aol.com.  Stay tuned for updates!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Aug. 11th A.T. Community Committee meeting minutes

  • Fred Lauster, Borough Council, Parks & Recreation
  • Mary Parry, Trail Angel and Duncannon resident
  • Mike O’Connor, Mountain Club of Maryland
  • Paul Smith, Duncannon resident
  • Jason Finnerty, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (Perry County Planning)
  • Malissa Hoover, Susquenita School District
  • Matt Smith, Perry County resident
  • Gwen Lehman, PA Audubon
  • Kim McKee, Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Action items before next meeting:
  • Make final decision on event date (Mary to coordinate – see updates below) – start notifying potential partner organizations
  • Application – Mary will take lead on Question #5 and Malissa on #3, email text to Fred
  • Malissa will get letter of support from Susquenita School District
  • Kim M. will send Mary list of other organizations/potential partners already contacted, get back to Mike on panel design content, & send Matt information on costs from previous designation events
  • Paul will look into music for the event (local bands, musicians)
  • Outreach to additional partners – see last section of agenda – let Kim or Mary know if you can contact any of those listed

A.T. Community Program Application – September 1 deadline
  • Fred updated us on letters of support
  • Malissa will send Fred language for question #3 regarding service project and seek letter of support from Susquenita School District “Describe the event and list the lead volunteer liaison with contact information.  Please list any activities Trail to Every Classroom alumni may be implementing.”
  • Mary will send Fred language for #5 “Describe why your town should be selected as an Appalachian Trail Community.  What can this program do for your community?  What can your town do for the Appalachian Trail?”

Trails to Every Classroom Update -
  • Trails to Every Classroom – Service learning program involving teaching methods that encourage students to solve local community problems while offering a hands-on learning experience, more info: http://www.appalachiantrail.org/what-we-do/youth-education
  • 4 Teachers from Susquenita School District and the Assistant Principal of the middle school are involved
  • They’re currently working with K-8 in Susquenita School District
  • Susquenita also does adventure-based counseling at the High School

Susquehanna Greenway Driving Tour Kiosk
  • [Mike] SEDA-COG got in touch on 8/12 regarding panel design/content
  • Kim M. will talk with Kim W. regarding thoughts on content or design and get back to Mike mid-week

Potentially reviving 501c3 “Friends” group
  • See how things develop with event planning before considering taking on this type of organizational structure

  • Mary Parry will be the volunteer lead for the designation event
  • [Mary] Vision for the event is to have tables like National Night Out with groups present related to anything trail, nature, outdoors, etc. (Trail Clubs, ATC, Audubon, Susquehanna Greenway, Susquehanna River Trails Association, etc.)
  • THEME - Idea for theme – “Saving our Community from Nature Deficit Disorder”
    • Inspiration from Robert Louv’s book “Last Child in the Woods”
    • Quote from 1980s National Geographic article on Duncannon to read at designation event
  • LOCATION - Options discussed (more than one venue?):
    • Cooper Park
    • Noye Park
    • Duncannon Square
    • National Night Out location
    • Penn Township Park
  • ACTIVITIES ideas
    • Can coordinate trail maintenance events that day with local trail clubs (Mountain Club of Maryland, Susquehanna ATC, Keystone Trails, York Trail Club)
    • [Matt] Kids present and involved will be important – add excitement and energy to community event
    • [Malissa] Trails to Every Classroom teachers can run “Quest” that day – type of treasure hunt for students
    • [Mary] A.T. in 2 minutes or less obstacle course – organized by Billville hiker
    • Perry County Conservation District – Coordinate with Envirothon?
    • Susquehanna River Trail Association plan river trip
    • Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club lead hikes & river float
    • Story tellers from A.T. Museum festival (Mary has already confirmed), Appalachian Jug Band
    • Mary contacted Fire Company, her contact is going to check if the Fire Company will be willing to cook food for the guests given we provide the food and the charcoal, etc.
    • [Mary] Riverfront campground willing to do a free guide for 9 children ages 12 and up.  It would be from Clemson Island to Duncannon - approximately 2 hour trip.  Would like to use this trip to give opportunity for children who do not otherwise have the opportunity to get on the river.  Sign up through Susquenita perhaps.
    • Paul will be looking into music – local musicians and bands from Perry County, send any ideas in his direction
    • [Gwen] PA Audubon can take the lead on birding hikes along the stream or ridge; set up an area for binocular use demonstration; set up display on native plants and backyard habitat; promote backyard bird count and feeder watch as a way to enter more data on birds within the Kittatinny Corridor.
    • [Matt] depends on scale, what the costs will be – go after big donations from one large donor or smaller donations from various businesses. 
    • Kim will get Matt numbers from previous A.T. designation events this week
    • Potential costs include signs, printing, keynote speakers, t-shirts, food (if not donated), etc. 
  • FOOD ideas
    • Pig Roast
    • Picnic - Hot dogs and hamburgers
    • Local restaurants as street vendors?  Roadhawg BBQ, pizza, etc.
  • DATE – Updates from Mary on date possibilities
    • May 12 - strong - day before Mother's Day
    • May 19 - conflict - Trail Days Damascus, VA 
    • May 25 - conflict - Memorial Day weekend
    • June 2 - possible - National Trails Days, Boiling Springs Founders Day
    • June 9 - conflict - National Get Outdoors Day, Appalachian Trail Museum Festival
  • SPEAKERS - Ideas
    • Rep. Keller and Commissioner Benner
    • Mary will contact Richard Louv (potential keynote speaker?)
    • Larry Luxenbourg, A.T. Museum (has already agreed to speak)

Additional Partners to reach out to for Event & Committee
  • [Jason] Carlisle Health and Wellness – wanted their involvement in putting together Parks & Rec opportunities in Perry County, this event & Apple Tree Alley may fall in line with that
  • Holy Spirit, new affiliation with the business campus, could also be interested
  • [Matt] Penn Township and Duncannon EMS as well
  • [Jason] Lisa Dorman or Sarah Kramer from the newspaper could also be invited to these planning meetings, potential story about community projects/events
  • [Mary] York Hiking Club
  • [Malissa] Steve Oliphante - Owner of outfitters on City Island & involved with Chesapeake Bay, Shermans Creek Conservation, PA Game Commission, Businesses - Sheetz & Rohrer Bus

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Aug. 8th Apple Tree Alleywalk Meeting Minutes & Action Items

Residential area along Apple Tree Alley
Duncannon Borough Office, 10am 

  • Fred Lauster, Borough Council
  • Tanuya Matter, Borough Manager
  • Lou Colón, Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED)
  • Kim Wheeler, DCED
  • Will Soper, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission
  • Pastor Robinson, Duncannon Church of God
  • Karl King, Main Line Canal Greenway/Allegheny Ridge Corporation
  • Robert Peiffer, Perry County Chamber of Commerce
  • Rick Knepp, Susquenita Middle School
  • Mike Piaskowski, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)
  • Tom Grbenick, SEDA-COG Community Resource Center
  • Kim Williams, Appalachian Trail Conservancy
  • Kim McKee, Appalachian Trail Conservancy
  • Ashley Albert, Senator Corman’s Office

Summary of Action Items:

  • Mike P. planning meeting with Borough on August 24th to discuss the first phase and preparing the DCNR grant application, seek Borough Council stamp of approval
  • Fred will get Lou Colón the information regarding the 501c3, Lou will check on whether it can be revived
  • Kim Wheeler & Lou will notify the committee when Keystone Community program guidelines are released
  • Will Soper will look into how the 12yr transportation plan comes into play with the 20yr long-range transportation plan
  • Kim M. will send Lou the State Transportation Committee hearing application process info; Kim M. will also coordinate with Fred to draft written testimony before deadline
  • Kim M. will update A.T. Community Committee on Apple Tree AlleyWalk at Thursday, 8/11 meeting (6pm at the Borough Office) and gauge interest in both taking on role of 501c3 and coordinating Apple Tree Alley volunteer efforts
  • Tanuya will check on possibility of allocating Borough’s liquid fuels funds to Apple Tree AlleyWalk project over coming years
  • Mike P. will notify Robert as to when Perry County Chamber members should interested in making a donation, pledging in-kind contributions or interested in tax credit programs should attend Apple Tree AlleyWalk committee meetings
  • **NOTE** Businesses will be planning out their budgets for the coming year before December, preferably invite them attend before then
  • Kim M. will schedule next meeting for mid-September in the coming weeks
  • ALL – send Kim M. any important updates for the blog


Example projects from the region:

SEDA-COG: Potential role
  • [Tom G.]  Can provide ongoing technical assistance, can serve as knowledge source regarding planning process/project designs
  • Can also provide design services, has worked with Borough engineer in the past
  • Prepared to assist the Borough with writing grant applications, within limits – can assist with DCNR application pro bono
  • [Mike P.] Does SEDA-COG have any bulk contracts/purchasing power?  No.

DCNR: Potential role of and funding opportunities
  • [Mike P.] Can help coordinate these efforts.  DCNR grant can be a “doorstep allocation,” though private fundraising should be done as well.
  • Next application is due in early April – Mike P. will coordinate meeting with Borough and other related parties to discuss first phase/application process
  • Can offer services to help coordinate the financials – communicate with DCED & PennDOT
  • **Important for local constituency to stay engaged**

DCED: Potential role and funding opportunities
  • [Lou]  Having a non-profit in place for this project could play an important role
  • Duncannon Area Revitalization Inc. still has $1,800 worth of funds
  • Fred will check on the information for the 501c3 and get that to Lou – Lou will check on whether it can be revived
  • Special Projects Program Tax Credit (part of NPP – see below)
    • Solicit local businesses/corporations to donate – they would receive a tax credit in turn
    • **January 31st , 2012 – last round of tax credits
    • The longer the term, the higher the tax credits
    • $50,000/yr minimum for NPP (for 5 or 10 years)
    • Donors will realize a return of 75% on their taxes
    • Visit www.newpa.com and search for NPP
    • 4 tax credit programs are listed
    • Sometimes the Special Projects Program is used to get a project started and then a different tax program is applied for the next year
  • [Kim Wheeler] Can come along with Borough rep when soliciting funds from a bank, utility, etc. to provide support/explain program
  • Generally non-profits coordinate to put a lunch together and invite their prospective donors, DCED presents at this lunch
  • Per Mike P.’s question: If there is one anchor donor at $50,000, others can contribute smaller amounts as well
  • The program can also accept in-kind contributions and other funding programs (CDBG, DCNR, etc.) as a match
  • Very “Return on Investment” (ROI)-focused – DCED wants to see the impacts over 5 years – increased number of businesses, rising property values, increased sales tax collected, other amenities developed because of initial catalyst project
  • PSU Extension in Middletown has students that can assist in forecasting economic impacts
  • Keystone Communities Streetscape Grant another option for project-based work
  • Enterprise Zone tax credits – for attracting or expanding businesses, Duncannon is within a designated Enterprise Zone
  • DCED also reaches out to the Department of Banking – they have access to the center for business financing as well
  • Connecting to the Downtown will be key for DCED involvement – advantageous if an anchor building were involved, per se
  • DCED also has funds for Community Improvement Program (non-Main Street program communities are eligible) – rolling application and decisions will be made by May 15th of next year.
  • Kim and Lou will notify committee when Keystone Communities guidelines become available

Main Line Canal Greenway: Potential role
  • [Karl] An existing 501c3 can act on behalf on the Borough – Karl will look into whether Allegheny Ridge Corporation would be willing to take on that role if it came down to it
  • Would probably be less efficient than having a more local organization formed
  • Can also provide technical assistance for grant-writing – DCNR or Transportation Enhancements
  • Also noted Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits available to private sector
  • [Lou] The tax credits can be syndicated to third-party (could be corporation with no interest in project other than acquiring tax credits) – building owners would not necessarily have to front the cost for the restoration themselves
  • The program is ran by Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission and Scott Doyle is the contact\DCED can partner with this program as well through the Keystone Communities program
  • Can also get an insurance policy on the tax credits to ensure completion of project
  • [Tom G.] Hitch: the property has to be listed on federal register of historic places or eligible for listing
Susquenita Middle School: Potential Role
  • [Rick] Can get middle school groups involved with planting trees, volunteer work, etc.
  • General community outreach, generate excitement about project and community pride
  • Possible attendance at future Borough Council meetings to show community support for project

Perry County Chamber of Commerce: Potential role and funding opportunities
  • [Robert] Chamber voted unanimously to support the project and has provided Fred with a letter of support for A.T. Community application
  • Chamber has a number of non-profits within their organization, the co-chair, Frank Campbell, is very involved with Newport Revitalization
  • Board members are associated with statewide organizations
  • Can be a resource for in-kind services/contributions, very committed to the Duncannon area – has started to talk to businesses about potential donations from trees to bricks to excavation work

Tri-County Regional Planning Commission: Potential role and funding opportunities
  • [Lou] Transportation Enhancement process – State Transportation Committee holding hearings over the next month (Altoona, Aug. 11th, Gettysburg, Aug. 26th)
  • Must apply to present testimony – they will accept written testimony through the end of September, would be good to have this project presented
  • ATC will be present at Gettysburg, Lou (DCED) will be present at Altoona – Kim M. will send Lou the public hearing guidelines
  • [Will] Will look into how the 12yr program comes into play with the long range transportation plan (20yr)
  • Tri-County RPC sees this as very important – wants to see it move from long-range transportation plan to funded through Transportation Enhancements (TE)
  • Will stay on top of progress with federal legislation and keep committee updated
  • Tri-County also has the CDBG planner on staff – Eliz Wimmer
  • **Phasing** – this project can be programmed through TE phase-by-phase, each phase could stand alone

Appalachian Trail Conservancy: Potential role
  • [Kim Williams] Supporting the Borough, providing technical assistance as well as staff capacity allows, facilitating meetings and committee communication
  • Mobilizing Appalachian Trail Community Committee and volunteers, facilitating potential transition into 501c3 through reviving Duncannon Area Revitalization, Inc. or otherwise
  • Connecting local Trail clubs to Duncannon projects

Duncannon Church of God: Potential role
  • [Pastor Robinson] Will take this information back to other Pastors in the Community
  • Will perform community outreach and generate support at the base level
  • Possible attendance at future Borough Council meetings to show community support for project

Senator Corman’s Office: Potential role
  • [Ashley] Will take this information back to Senator Corman, can provide letters of support where needed

Duncannon Borough: Potential role and comments
  • [Tanuya] Non-profit designation will be important in getting the community involved
  • Borough has started to have success in engaging civic groups in community projects, also summer youth work program has been building momentum
  • Boy Scouts, Schools, Churches, Lions Club could get involved in non-profit or mobilizing volunteers
  • [Tom G.] Liquid fuels funds – Borough should potentially allocate some liquid fuel funds towards project in coming years, would be helpful in fundraising to show Borough is dedicating funds as well
  • [Fred] Noted after meeting: Borough does have a certain amount of dedicated Apple Tree AlleyWalk funds set aside from a few years ago

Susquehanna Greenway Partnership: Potential role
  • [Tom G.] SGP is currently developing a River Town assessment tool – help engage community in business development ideas

Final Comments:
  • Short-term – discussing and developing a plan to start on an initial phase with DCNR (Mike P. coordinating)
  • Longer-term – a group needs to look at organizational aspects (between various organizations/public entities involved) and a 10-yr project development strategy
  • [Kim M.] Thought - Given project timeframe and project history – should the committee consider a project-based Memorandum of Understanding outlining roles and responsibilities in case of staff turnover in coming years?
  • [Robert] Let Perry County Chamber know when interested members/businesses in tax credits, donations or in-kind contributions should attend meetings – preferably BEFORE NOVEMBER as businesses plan for next fiscal year budgets
  • [Kim M.] Will form email distribution list and continue posting updates to blog: http://duncannonat.blogspot.com
  • Next all-committee meeting will be planned for mid-September, Kim M. will schedule in coming weeks.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A.T. Community Advisory Committee Meeting scheduled for Thurs. Aug 11th at 6pm

The next A.T. Community Advisory Committee meeting will take place at the Borough Office (428 N. High St.) on Thursday, August 11th at 6pm. (Note: this is separate from the Apple Tree AlleyWalk meeting scheduled for Aug. 8th which will focus specifically on the AlleyWalk project)

We'll hope to cover completing the program application which is due September 1st, deciding on date and a "vision" or theme for the designation event, and discussing other possible A.T. Community Committee activities to build some momentum before the event.

If you are interested in attending or getting involved please contact Kim McKee at kmckee@appalachiantrail.org or Fred Lauster at flauster@duncannonboro.org and you will be added to the email list when the agenda is sent out prior to the meeting.