Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Borough Purchases Clarks Ferry Tavern

Duncannon Borough Summer 2012 Newsletter announcement:

Standing along on the West side of the Susquehanna River where the Native Americans had a crossing they called "Queenashawakee" and built prior to 1788 is a stone tavern.  John Clark, an early pioneer of what is now Perry County, has been credited with starting a Ferry on this site prior to 1800 and keeping a tavern for the travelers along the first through-road from Huntington to Pittsburgh.

This historic building in the late 18th century being one of the only buildings in the area is now located in the center of the Borough of Duncannon.  While the years have been hard on the old Clarks Ferry Tavern, and its owners many, the historical significance still captures the heart of the local history enthusiasts.

Recently the ownership of the Tavern has fallen upon difficulties and into a state of neglect, finally the building was listed on the open market for purchase from the mortgage holder and Duncannon Borough has purchased the Tavern and the associated land officially closing the deal on July 19, 2012 for the realized price of $50,000.00.

The money was obtained from the Borough's Capital Reserve fund which is made up of monies realized from the sale of timber on the forestry managed watershed.  A few years ago Borough Council voted to use monies from the sale of timber only for capital improvements such as new buildings, facility upgrades, and special projects that are of a "bricks and mortar" nature to improve the Borough.  Borough Council voted 6 in favor to 1 opposed to purchase the tavern based on the asking price and the current condition.  During our discussion many concerns of the purchase were volleyed to include; what may happen if the building was purchased and the buyer decided to dismantle the structure to recover the cut stone?  Can the Borough recover their investment if it proves not to be a worthy project?  What can we do with the structure and the property?  Is it worth saving?  Are we acting responsibly with the monies of the Borough?  These were just a few of the questions bantered about and with the Guidance of our Solicitor to confirm we were acting in a legal and appropriate manner, Borough Council made the offer by resolution.

What will be the future history of the Clarks Ferry Tavern?  Borough Council has decided first to secure the property, evaluate and prevent further deterioration, and maintain the exterior and grounds in an appropriate manner for the short run.  Since our budget does not reflect any planning for owning this property in 2012 we will do the minimum needed to accomplish the above.

Moving forward we will appoint a group of interested residents to look at the many options of what this location could be in the future, how it can be funded for rehabilitation into its new use, and how it will be maintained for future generations.  The possibilities are many and the ideas will grow as our community gets behind a project to save a historic structure.  We look forward to working together as friends and neighbors in the Borough of Duncannon.

If you are interested in volunteering to work on this project email your contact information to dhammaker@duncannonboro.org or stop by the Borough Office and let one of the office staff know.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Apple Tree Alley Public Meeting Schedule

As residents may have seen in the Summer Duncannon Borough Newsletter, the Borough has planned a series of upcoming public meetings to discuss the Apple Tree Alley project regarding a plan to move forward and a referendum question to appear on the November ballot.

Learn more about the Apple Tree Alley project and potential benefits.

While the project is in essence a community pedestrian/bikepath (that also allows for vehicle access), its regional significance and potential positive community and economic impacts make it an important piece of transportation infrastructure in the Borough's downtown area.  In addition to providing new amenities and healthy exercise opportunities for Borough residents, the Alleywalk will enhance Duncannon's attraction as an Appalachian Trail Community and destination for outdoor recreation tourism.  

Duncannon resident and Duncannon A.T. Community Advisory Committee attendance at upcoming public meetings is encouraged to both show support and learn more about this exciting project!  

The schedule will be as follows: 
  • August 16th, 7:30pm at Duncannon Borough Office
  • September 11th, 7:30pm at Duncannon Borough Office
  • October 20th, 9:30am at Duncannon Presbyterian Church

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Susquenita Teachers Hit the Trail!

On Wednesday, July 25th, 27 teachers from Susquenita School took to the Appalachian Trail in Perry County!  Susquenita Middle School civics teacher and Trail to Every Classroom alum Paul Marth did an awesome job coordinating three group hikes and providing outdoor education materials for an In-Service Day in Susquenita’s “backyard.”  While taking breathers along the trek, readings from both Bill Bryon’s A Walk in the Woods and Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods added to the experience in highlighting the benefits of direct exposure to nature for children and the Appalachian Trail as a resource and outdoor classroom.  

ATC staff were able to join the teachers in their hikes traversing Cove and Kittatinny Mountains.  One group did 5 miles on the Darlington Trail and Appalachian Trail from the ridge of Kittatinny Mountain to PA-850 and two groups hiked 7 miles from the PA-850 parking area, up Cove Mountain, and then down into Duncannon.  The path was well-blazed thanks to Susquenita efforts earlier in the year

Handing out maps and excerpts from A Walk in the Woods.

The group on the Darlington Trail, criss-crossing Cumberland & Perry Counties.

Appalachian Trail crossing farm fields in Rye Township.

Susquenita Group at Hawk Rock.

Hikers at the intersection of the Darlington Trail & A.T. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Duncannon A.T. Community Committee joins Hershey-Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau

The Duncannon A.T. Community Committee recently became the newest member of Hershey-Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau!  Check out the DATC page on their web site.

This represents an important step in promoting economic development through outdoor recreational tourism.  Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau provides opportunities for collaborative marketing of Duncannon as an Appalachian Trail Community, as a destination for outdoor enthusiasts, and as a gateway to to exploring Perry County from the Capitol area.  

Collaborative marketing is critical to attracting visitors as "Trail towns" are not stand-alone communities; they are linked by the trail corridor and part of a regional set of attractions that will invite visitors to an area to enjoy its many offerings.

The mission of Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau is to generate economic growth and stability for Dauphin and Perry Counties through the marketing and promotion of the Hershey Harrisburg region as a competitive meeting, corporate and leisure destination, and to coalesce, develop and expand its hospitality industry, products and workforce. 

Other Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau members in the greater Duncannon area include Blue Mountain Outfitters, Buddy Boy Winery, Hearts Design at Needful Things, Perry County Council of the Arts, Perry County Chamber of Commerce, the Perry County Fair and the Historical Society of Perry County.

And don't forget to check out the Appalachian Trail and Little Buffalo State Park!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Updates from the Appalachian Trail Community Network

A.T. Community Coordinator Julie Judkins has launched an AppalachianTrail Community blog!  
http://atcommunities.wordpress.com/ to learn more about newly designated communities, the A.T. Community Ambassadors and their work, and successful projects and initiatives in communities across the Appalachian Trail Corridor.  One of the benefits of participation in the A.T. Community program is information and idea-sharing across the network of trail towns along the corridor.  So check it out and think about updates to send from Duncannon!

The Front Royal/Warren County, VA A.T. Community Committee also launched their own blog to send updates about their projects and programming as an A.T. Community and local tourism information.  Visit their blog here.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Measuring the Economic Impact of Special Events, a Case Study from Missisippi

A research team for the annual Peter Anderson Arts Festival that takes place in Ocean Springs, Mississippi recently completed their second economic impact study to measure the positive influences the event has on the local economy.  The first economic impact study of the event, conducted in 2010, revealed that the annual festival grossed $13 million in a town of 18,000 people. 

The local economies of many towns depend on the revenue, employment and income that festivals and events bring to the community.  The Peter Anderson Arts Festival happens on a very large scale in a larger town, but check out the article at the above link to learn more about the local tourism strategies and the economic impacts that events and festivals can have on the local economy.

On another note, the Ned Smith Nature and Arts Festival is coming up in Millersburg on July 28th!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Apple Tree Alley discussed at June Borough Council meeting

The Alleywalk behind Old Sledworks (from SEDA-COG plans)
Apple Tree Alley is an old railroad right-of-way running from Fritz Avenue to Noye Park between High and Market Streets in Duncannon Borough and future plans for this underutilized corridor were up for discussion at the June Borough Council meeting as funding opportunities for federal and state programs have been proposed.  In 2009, SEDA-COG completed concept plans to convert the Alley into a pedestrian/bike-path for community use.  As proposed, the AlleyWalk would extend approximately one mile in length between Little Juniata Creek and Fritz Avenue.  The AlleyWalk would be constructed within the limits of the existing Borough right-of-way and could also serve as the route of the Appalachian Trail through the Borough - guiding hikers through a linear town park with connecting hiker-amenities, community services, historic sites, and businesses.  

But even more than its significance within the Susquehanna Greenway and Appalachian Trail Corridor, the SEDA-COG concept plans note that the Alleywalk is about making Duncannon a better place - increasing its attraction as a place to live, work and play - and improving public health by making better use of Apple Tree Alley as a community destination for walking and bicycling.  The Alleywalk can also enhance real estate value and create new business opportunity in Duncannon.  While maintenance of existing infrastructure is always important, this project is considered an investment geared towards improving public health, beautifying the downtown area, and better taking advantage of the outdoor recreation and heritage tourism visitor spending in the greater Capitol region.

At the June meeting, Borough Council voted to proceed in holding public meetings and beginning to address right-of-way issues, with the caveat that the project will be on the ballot in November as a non-binding referendum.  Stay tuned for public meeting announcements in the Borough Newsletter!

In a similar-type project, Millersburg recently had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their Riverfront Park which includes an asphalt hiking/biking pathway, additional paved parking and the erection of a welcome center.  Read more in a recent article from the Republican-Herald or better yet, go check it out!! 

Millersburg Riverfront Park boasts new path, upgrades