The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 14, 2013

Tourism program awards $305G in grants

— Resort owners and B&B proprietors, festival organizers and historic preservationists, sportsmen and artists share a common goal of attracting visitors to Somerset County.

The more services they can combine to offer, the more likely local toursim will grow.

The groups have been assisted in their efforts by the Somerset County Tourism Grant Program, which is administered by the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, for a decade.

This year, the grant review committee distributed $305,222 to 49 tourism-related businesses and organizations within the county, as announced on Wednesday. It was the largest amount of money awarded in the program’s history.

“The annual Tourism Grant Program has proven to be an extremely vital and effective program for the county’s tourism industry,” the bureau’s marketing director, Julie Donovan, said. “Capital grants have allowed sites to make physical improvements and enhancements, while marketing grants have given dozens of businesses the opportunity to expand or initiate marketing campaigns which have resulted in an increase in overnight stays and increased attendance at their respective sites.”

The largest grant, $30,000, went to Seven Springs Mountain Resort, which annually attracts about 1.2 million visitors.

“Seven Springs is honored to receive a Somerset County grant award,” said the resort’s communications manager, Anna Weltz. “Seven Springs and the Laurel Highlands have become a great year-round destination for families from the Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Cleveland and Columbus areas. A portion of our grant will be used toward exposing those families to the beauty and excitement of a summer vacation at Seven Springs, including Laurel Ridgeline Canopy Tour and eco-tour, the Screaming Hawk Zipline, golf, sporting clays and more.

The remainder of the grant will focus on increasing awareness about the tremendous Learn to Ski or Snowboard programs through our Snowsports School, which has been recognized as one of the premier kids’ programs on the East Coast.”

Other recipients included Benscreek Canoe Club, Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial, Hidden Valley Resort, Laurel Highlands Heritage Festival Marketing Co-Op, The Hostel on Main, Laurel Arts Inc. and Stonycreek Quemahoning Initiative.

 Brad Clemenson, coordinator of Lift Johnstown and a consultant to the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, helped the canoe club and Stonycreek Quemahoning Initiative acquire grants of $7,000 and $10,000, respectively.

“We’ll start out attracting visitors and can progressively build the regional reputation for outdoor adventure to the point that we’re not only attracting visitors but also attracting a much wider array of businesses,” Clemenson said.

Money will be used primarily for promotion and construction.

Judy Pletcher, owner of the hostel in Rockwood, plans to use its $7,500 for online marketing, trade show displays and other forms of promotion.

“It helps us do things we wouldn’t be able to do,” Pletcher said.

Funding for the grants came from the 3 percent lodging tax, paid by visitors to the county. No money came from local taxes.

Grant recipients were selected by a review committee consisting of Somerset County Commissioner Pamela Tokar-Ickes, Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau Executive Director Ron Virag, Seven Springs Mountain Resort CEO Eric Mauck, Somerset Med Services General Manager George Coyle and Bill Miller Equipment Sales Inc. representative Lee Murdy.

Coyle and Murdy have served on the committee for all 10 years of its existence.

The program has awarded nearly

$2.9 million in 431 grants over the years.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    Here are the names of the 10 entrants that were chosen today-April 24, 2014.  If you see your name, call the Circulation Department at 814-532-5000 (#1) or 1-866-307-0905 to verify your information.

    April 24, 2014

  • WilliamsA ‘I thought I was going to die’

    Hornerstown resident Robert “Bobby” Williams said he endured two hours of surgery, suffered a heart attack and fears he may never again be able to fully use his right arm.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    Here are the names of the 10 entrants that were chosen today-April 22, 2014.  If you see your name, call the Circulation Department at 814-532-5000 (#1) or 1-866-307-0905 to verify your information.

    April 22, 2014

  • JFD traing Firefighters practice river rescues

    Johnstown Fire Department members lift a “victim” out of the rescue basket during training Wednesday along the Stonycreek River flood-control wall

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • sewer meeting map Sewer work will tie up traffic

    Brace yourselves.
    This summer’s sewer main replacement project will delay traffic with detours, closed streets and lane restrictions through one of Johnstown’s notoriously snarled neighborhoods.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • USS Somerset USS Somerset arrives at San Diego homeport

    The USS Somerset is home.
    The amphibious transport dock ship named in honor of the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 arrived at its new homeport of Naval Base San Diego on Monday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jablonski, Stephen Charges filed in courthouse bomb threat

    A Johnstown man was charged by Ebensburg Borough police Wednesday with threatening to blow up the Cambria County Courthouse, a call he admitted to Ebensburg police he made Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vizza, Peter Vizza voted deputy mayor

    The top vote-getter in last year’s Johnstown City Council election is now also the city’s deputy mayor.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Conemaugh Township rezoning opens business possibilities

    A portion of South Main Street in Davidsville will be rezoned to give greater allowances to the businesses along the road.

    April 23, 2014

  • Sculptor’s work to be raffled off

    The work of a local sculptor will be raffled off during the Art in Bloom show.

    April 23, 2014


Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads