Economic Impact Studies
The Trail Town Program® partnered with Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau and the Allegheny Trail Alliance on a two year economic impact study from 2007-09. We surveyed businesses and trail users and found that the trail generates annual spending to the tune of $40 million a year. See the study and past studies. Another survey was conducted in 2011. The results will be available soon.
In addition to tracking the economic impact, it’s critical that we measure annual trail use. We assumed the responsibility of quantifying trail traffic in 2009. We combine electronic and manual counts and a lot of season-end number crunching to understand trail use and patterns. The 2010 Estimated Annual Trail Use at Major Great Allegheny Passage Trail Access Locations and 2011 Estimated Trail Use at Major Great Allegheny Passage Trail Access Locations is now available. Visit our Reports & Studies page for additional 2011 Day of the Week trail counts.
A grant from Appalachian Regional Commission of Maryland enabled the program to expand to Maryland in 2009, when we employed contract staff to work in Frostburg, Cumberland, and Oldtown, MD. The Trail Town Program®’s parent organization, The Progress Fund, has dedicated funds to make loans in this part of Maryland.
Trail Town Outreach Program
A partnership with the Student Conservation Association has allowed us to hire a corps of seasonal employees who’ve come from all corners of the US, including here in southwestern PA. The Trail Town Outreach Corps, a.k.a. TTOC, helps the Trail Town Program® to carry out its work in the Trail Towns and to teach and encourage sustainable practices. The program has been expanded through 2013.
Trail Town Certified Business Network
The Trail Town Certified Business Network is a merger of two existing programs (GAP Sustainable Business Network and the Maryland Certified Trail Friendly program). Together the Certified Business Network helps improve business practices in sustainability and hospitality. Businesses can go throug training assessments to become "Certified Sustainable" and/or "Certified Trail Friendly." This business network is working to connect businesses along the trail. An application is available here. More information and resources can be found at www.gapsbn.org.
Trail Town Business Sign Grant Program
The Trail Town Program® is offering a matching grant program through the first quarter of 2012 in order to assist businesses in installing custom-made and locally-produced signs that reflect the special nature of each participating business. Read the Program Guidelines and the Sign Design Guide to learn more about the program. Available for Westmoreland, Fayette, and Somerset Counties only. Click to download an application. A second round of Business Sign Grant Program is set for 2013. This grant program ended in April 2013.
Trail Town Bike Rack Matching Grant Program
In 2011, the Trail Town Program® offered Pennsylvania Trail Town businesses the opportunity to install post and ring style bike racks at a reduced cost through a matching grant program. We still have a few bike racks remaining. Available for Westmoreland, Fayette, and Somerset Counties only. If you are interested in ordering bike racks for your business or organization, please complete a Liability Waiver. This grant program ended in October 2012.
Trail Town Preservation Planning
During 2010, the Trail Town Program® partnered with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and Preservation Pennsylvania to create a six-town preservation plan along the GAP. The towns included West Newton, Connellsville, Ohiopyle, Confluence, Rockwood, and Meyersdale. Progress through Preservation: A Guide for Preservation and Economic Development in Trail Towns along the Great Allegheny Passage is now available.
Connecting “Trail to Town”
The Trail Town Program® has partnered with the Allegheny Trail Alliance and countless community partners to conduct the Trail Town Needs Assessment in Trail Towns near and far. The assessment is an early step taken by communities that want to tap into the trail. We also work in participating Trail Towns to improve the connections “between trail and town,” addressing issues of signage, safety, marketing, and awareness. "Trail to Town" projects included: Rockwood trailhead improvements, Business Sign and Bike Rack Matching Grant Programs, Connellsville Caboose Welcome Center, and improved gateway signage, and kiosks.
Trail Town Public Art Program
In 2008, in conjunction with the Pittsburgh region’s 250th anniversary celebration, the Trail Town Program® worked with local committees and area artists to create and install 14 pieces of public art along in towns along the GAP. The art included murals, sculptures, and carvings that paid tribute to each town’s heritage. Read more.
Business Assistance and Lending
We offer assistance to new and prospective businesses. Here are a few ways we can help:
• Supply market information to prospective businesses
• Access to lending and other resources
• Listing of available properties and businesses on the website
• General technical and marketing assistance
Learn more in the Dream It, Plan It, Find It, Own It sections of this site.
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