A memorial to Connellsville sports heroes, creation of a 3-D mural in Dunbar, facility improvements, marketing campaigns and help with operating costs are being funded by the 2018 Fayette County Tourism Grants.
With the assistance of Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, Fayette County recently awarded 35 grants to 23 entities for a total of $392,486.
“I think here in Fayette County, we know that travel is very special,’’ said Ann Nemanic, LHVB executive director.
Nemanic explained the annual program is funded by 50 percent of the revenues generated by the Fayette County Hotel Room Tax, a 3 percent tax that began in 2008. Awards are determined by a grant review committee and administered by the Fayette County Commissioners and LHVB. Since its inception, the program has awarded more than $4.1 million in tourism grants.
At a ceremony in the historic State Theatre Center for the Arts in downtown Uniontown Feb. 1, Nemanic read grant descriptions while presentations were made Commissioners Vincent A. Vicites and Dave Lohr and Warren Hughes, a member of the grant review committee. Commissioner Angela M. Zimmerlink was unable to attend.
Vicites remarked, “I think Fayette County tourism is recognized as one of the best in Pennsylvania.’’
Lohr noted, “A lot of people don’t realize that people come here from around the world.’’
State Rep. Matthew Dowling, R-Uniontown, distributed certificates that were also from state Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Jefferson, and state Rep. Ryan Warner, R-Perryopolis.
Dowling said, “We are celebrating one of the most important industries in Fayette County.’’
Borough of Dunbar received a $10,000 capital grant for the creation of a 3-D mural by local artist Liz Jones near the Sheepskin Bicycle Trail.
Brownsville Area Revitalization Corp., which operates the Flatiron Heritage Visitors Center and Frank L. Melega Art Museum, received $5,044 marketing grant and $2,500 operating grant.
Connellsville Area Historical Society and Museum, which operates the Historic Gibson House and Colonel Crawford’s Cabin, received $874 marketing grant for a brochure about the re-enactment of Braddock’s Crossing and $2,500 operating grant.
Connellsville Area School District Falcon Foundation received a $7,500 capital grant towards creation of a memorial to Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lujack and Olympic gold medalist John Woodruff, both Connellsville natives.
Fayette County Agricultural Improvement Association Inc., which operates the Fayette County Fair in Dunbar Township, received $34,700 marketing grant, $29,623 capital grant towards renovating the indoor restroom facilities and a $3,321 education grant towards purchase of a drone and Google Expedition kit for use in partnership with the Penn State Extension 4-H Youth Development program.
Fayette County Cultural Trust received a $7,500 marketing grant to develop a cable television marketing campaign to promote tourism assets and events as well as a $2,500 operational grant for the Connellsville Canteen.
Fayette County Historical Society received a $13,043 capital grant for roof restoration at the Abel Colley Tavern and Museum in Menallen Township and a $10,871 operational grant. The society also operates Searights Tollhouse.
Fay-Penn Economic Development Council received a $10,562 marketing grant to continue a partnership with the United States Collegiate Athletic Association and Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, in North Union Township to host the USCAA Basketball National Championships.
This is for a multimedia marketing campaign for the event, estimated to generate more than $500,000 in direct sales to the area. The council received a $20,425 operational grant to develop a website, event programs, directional signage and community and team incentives.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater/Western Pennsylvania Conservancy received a $25,000 marketing grant for a comprehensive campaign that includes National Public Radio in Washington, D.C.
Great Allegheny Passage/Allegheny Trail Alliance received a $12,000 marketing grant for social media advertisements, website and mobile app maintenance and creation and distribution of an updated map and brochure.
Greater Connellsville Area Community Center, which includes the Edwin Porter Theatre, received a $2,485 marketing grant and a $3,644 operational grant.
Jumonville Christian Camp and Retreat Center in North Union Township received a $7,500 capital grant to address accessibility issues in the welcome center, lodge, inn and dining hall.
Maple Bottom Farm received a $4,333 marketing grant for website creation with online booking, brochure creation and professional photography. This working dairy farm in Fayette and Westmoreland counties is becoming a farmhouse bed and breakfast.
National Road Heritage Corridor received an $18,000 marketing grant to create a multimedia campaign for attractions and events along the National Road, including the National Road Festival, as well as a $6,000 operational grant.
Neubauer’s Flower and Market House, located in the historic U.S. Livery Building in Uniontown, received a $6,338 marketing grant to create cable television commercials, social media marketing and marketing opportunities with the LHVB.
Ohiopyle Stewart Community Center received a $395 marketing grant to promote the Spirit of the River Festival in May.
Ohiopyle Trading Post & River Tours received a $60,000 marketing grant. Ohiopyle’s four outfitters — Ohiopyle Trading Post, Wilderness Voyageurs, Whitewater Adventurers and Laurel Highlands River Tours — will collaborate on a multi-media campaign with support of LHVB to target Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit and Indianapolis.
Redevelopment Authority of Connellsville received a $2,025 marketing grant to advertise services, restaurants and lodging in Connellsville in the Trail Guide.
Regional Trail Corp., Yough River Trail received a $18,900 capital grant to resurface two miles of the Great Allegheny Passage near Layton on either side of the Round Bottom camping area.
Springfield Township Volunteer Hose Co. received $5,979 operating grant to improve efficiency at the monthly buckwheat pancake fundraiser.
State Theatre Center for the Arts in Uniontown received $14,438 marketing grant for a multimedia campaign outside Fayette County as well as a $24,750 operational grant.
Touchstone Center for Crafts in Farmington received a $3,000 marketing grant to develop a new website, expanded social media campaign, print and television ads and attendance at national art conference. The center received a $6,210 capital grant for roof repairs to the Hart-Moore blacksmith studio and $2,500 operating grant.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 265 received a $7,956 capital grant to purchase new flags and for repairs to the commemorative site at the Uniontown Mall.
More information is available at www.laurelhighlands.org/grants.