City, Trolley Museum receive grants

May 20, 2014
Washington Mayor Brenda Davis and Bob Gregg, chief of the Pony League World Series, discuss their victories Tuesday. - Rick Shrum / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Brenda Davis knows you can’t always get what you want and was extremely gratified by what her city did get.

“We had asked for $200,000,” said the mayor of Washington, “but we have 50,000 reasons to be happy.”

That’s one reason for every dollar the city will receive from the Washington County Tourism Grants Program. The recipients were recognized Tuesday afternoon at the PONY Baseball & Softball International Headquarters in North Franklin Township; Washington and the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum were the biggest winners with $50,000 apiece.

The county commissioners and county Tourism Promotion Agency announced the winners of $285,900 in new tourism capital and and marketing investments. Eight organizations will receive capital project grants totaling $200,500, and 14 will share in $85,400 for marketing.

The grants are funded by the county’s 3 percent tax on hotel rooms. Commissioner Larry Maggi said each year, at least 10 percent of tax revenues goes to programs intended to increase tourism.

In Washington’s instance, it’s the community pavilion planned for the Main Street Farmers’ Market area.

“That’s going to be our town square,” Davis said, adding events can be added and improved year-round with a pavilion shielding vendors, patrons and participants from inclement weather.

The mayor said the city is “more than halfway” toward its target of accumulating $1 million for the pavilion – to “Raise The Roof,” as a promotional sign states. It now has $515,000.

She said she hopes to get the remaining funds by the end of the farmers market season in late October and the roof will be raised before the next one begins.

“I’m really excited for the city,” Davis said, “but I’ll be more excited when it’s built.”

Trolley Museum President Bob Jordan and Executive Director Scott Becker likewise were on a roll Tuesday, after receiving $50,000 to develop a master plan for maximizing use of current museum facilities and for expansion plans.

“Our goal is to provide a better visitor experience,” Becker said.

He said the museum’s project costs $100,000, and the $50,000 grant will be accompanied by $50,000 in “in-kind service” – $25,000 from museum personnel and $25,000 from the archittect, L.D. Astorino Co. of Pittsburgh.

“We really appreciate the county’s support,” Jordan said. “Everyone has been so strongly behind us.”

“We feel like we’re part of the community with a capital C,” Becker added.

Here is a complete list of recipients:

Capital projects

Charleroi Trustees Community Park Phase I, $35,000, installation of lights for the Pony League baseball field, allowing for further development of community parks along the river; City of Washington, $50,000; Montour Trail Council, $40,000, assist in the completion of the Arrowhead and Montour Trail bridge construction project that will connect the two across Valley Brook Road; National Road Heritage Corridor, $5,000, installation of signage in the Mon Valley of Washington County; North Strabane Township Park, $5,000, complete an 18-hole world-class disc golf course; Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, $50,000; Washington County Historical Society, $7,500, restore the apothecary shop in the LeMoyne House, providing better interpretation and increased program abilities; World Series Tournaments, Inc., $8,000, install a high-speed cable Internet line to Pony Field. Total: $200,500.

Marketing program

Aquatorium Innovations, Inc., $6,000; Heritage Alliance of Southwestern PA, $3,000; Houston Pumpkin Festival, $4,000; Little Lake Theatre Company, $5,000; McDonald Volunteer Fire Department, $4,000; Meadowcroft Rockshelter & Historic Village, $$4,000; Monongahela Area Historical Society, $2,000; National Duncan Glass Society, $4,000; National Road Heritage Corridor, $3,000; Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest, $2,400; Washington County Historical Society, $4,000; Washington Symphony Orchestra, $4,000; Whiskey Rebellion Festival, $15,000; World Series Tournaments, Inc., $25,000. Total: $85,400.

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won seven individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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