Trail Town Program® Six Services
We offer assistance to Trail Town communities as well as new and prospective businesses. Here are a few ways we can help:
- Business Assistance and Development
- Economic Research
- Community Connections
- Real Estate Development
- Small Business Loans
Business Assistance and Development efforts are accomplished by assessing business opportunities in each town. Trail Town Program works with businesses and interested entrepreneurs to improve business practices or to attract new and expanded businesses. Networking events are hosted by Trail Town Program to bring businesses and organizations together from across the region to learn about opportunities and share information to enhance their efforts.
The “Trail Town Certified Network” is a special initiative to better equip businesses with trail friendly and sustainable practices to better connect with their key market and share best practices with other businesses. To join this free and inclusive network, click here (PDF).
Marketing is a collaborative effort between many partners including trail groups, towns, businesses, and special attractions that help bring visitors to the region. Trail Town Program uses several mediums to promote the Trail Towns and businesses including a monthly newsletter and social media.
Economic Research has been a critical component for our regional trails and the Trail Towns providing data and trends in trail usage and spending. This important information provides vital statistics for business planning and projections. For the Great Allegheny Passage, the most recent study was completed in 2012. In addition to these reports, trail count data and analysis was reviewed for the GAP. Visit our Reports & Studies page for additional information.
Community Connections are infrastructure projects that help bring the towns and trails together. Improvements include, but are not limited to, improved trailheads and park areas, signage, scenic and town views, and bike racks. All enhance the visitor experience and create a welcoming place for both visitors and local residents. Several special matching grant programs are available under Community Connections as funding is available.
- Business Sign Grant: Matching funds are available in spring 2015 to Trail Town businesses towards upgrades to their exterior on-site signage. Business Sign Grant applications are open for review Feb 2 - April 1, 2015. Business Sign Grant 2015 Guidelines and Application (PDF)
- Bike Rack Grant: Application & Liability Waiver. Bike Rack Grant is now available until November 15.
- Community Connections: 2014 Community Connection Project Grant Letter of Intent/Applicaitons are now available. See document for details. First round applications are due by December 15, 2014.
- 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. Additional pieces have been added since. Learn more at the "Art on the Passage Tour."
Real Estate Development opportunities are available by identifying available properties in each of our communities. Trail Town Program offers free listings on our website and at historicproperties.com.
Most businesses in the tourism industry struggle with the task of securing Small Business Loans. Small businesses in the tourism industry must find alternative financing or be forced into slow grow. The Progress Fund provides the needed financing that enables many businesses to expand immediately and for the region to benefit from the resulting increases in sales and new jobs.
Trail Town Needs Assessment
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. This resource is the first step to address safety and access, business and amenity needs, and design efforts to attract trail users to your community.
A grant from Appalachian Regional Commission of Maryland enabled the program to expand to Maryland in 2009, when we employed contract staff to work along the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal. The Trail Town Program®’s parent organization, The Progress Fund, has dedicated funds to make loans in this part of Maryland.
Trail Town Outreach Corps (TTOC)
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 2014.
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.
Learn more in the Dream It, Plan It, Find It, Own It sections of this site.
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