Rachel Basinger

Scenic Pittsburgh has named Connellsville recipient of its very first Southwestern Pennsylvania Scenic Award.

The city will receive the Award for Community Scenic Achievement in a ceremony at 5 p.m. Oct. 16 in front of the mural at the Italian Independent Social Club on Connellsville’s West Crawford Ave. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place at the Connellsville Canteen.

“This is about all the collaborations and partnerships,’’ said Dan Cocks, executive director of Fayette County Cultural Trust. “People are coming together and promoting the city as a great place to raise a family and visit.’’

“I’m very excited about it. They’re recognizing the efforts of so many in the city working to make Connellsville a better place,’’ said Mayor Greg Lincoln, noting, “We’re very proud to receive this honor. The word’s getting out about how good a community we have, and it’s nice to be recognized.’’

Scenic Pittsburgh, a nonprofit environmental and civic advocacy group, explained in a release the award is given to a western Pennsylvania community that has “demonstrated a consistent, long-term and visionary commitment to protecting and promoting their scenic resources.’’

In announcing Connellsville as its first recipient, Scenic Pittsburgh noted, “Years of planning and labor by area leaders to leverage their scenic resources and make good on a new vision of the former ‘coal and coke capital of the U.S.’ have brought big changes to Connellsvlle.’’

Mike Dawida, executive director, commented in the release, “Our motto is that beauty is good for business. Connellsville is leading the way and showing how communities in the region can provide economic opportunity and quality of life for their residents by taking advantage of what makes them beautiful and unique.’’

Dawida added, “The people behind this had a vision. And through a lot of hard work, and a focus on the beautiful aspects of their community, they’ve brought it to life.’’

Cocks shared information he presented to Scenic Pittsburgh that noted the city’s location at the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, on the banks of the Youghiogheny River and along the Great Allegheny Passage bike/hike trail.

The city is also the scene of several public art projects, such as the Italian club mural, which was commissioned by Fayette County Cultural Trust from Pittsburgh muralist Jeremy Raymer and portrays historic scenes.

Cocks’ information mentioned the involvement of government, public and private efforts to enhance Connellsville.

They included renovations to city parks and the Carnegie Free Public Library, beautification projects by the Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce and Connellsville Career and Technical Center, preservation efforts by churches, maintenance of GAP by Yough River Trail Council and restoration of historic homes as well as projects by the Connellsville Garden Club, Connellsville Area Historical Society, Lions Club, Connellsville Redevelopment Authority, Connellsville Rotary and Fayette County Cultural Trust and an annual clean up led by the Health Insurance Store.

Scenic Pittsburgh serves Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Beaver, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland counties and is an affiliate of Scenic America, a scenic conservation organization, and a project of the Pennsylvania Resources Council.

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