Blairsville: Your Town…Six Years Later
“Have you ever been part of an ambitious planning process or event and later wondered, ‘what, if anything, came of all that?’ If you participated in Blairsville’s 2006 Your Town workshop, the news is good. Because the answer to that question is…quite a lot.”
Blairsville, PA Your Town Workshop
“The Blairsville, PA Your Town workshop was a joint effort, benefiting from a group of contributing organizations, including…the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Program, the Indiana County Office of Planning & Development, and the PA/Delaware Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Ed McMahon, of the Urban Land Institute, and Tom Horsch, Adventure Damascus, Inc., and Sun Dog Outfitters, gave the keynote addresses. Mr. Horsch gave an insightful talk on the economic impacts of recreational trails on local economics. The workshop focused on the design issues associated with community gateways and wayfinding, rediscovering and reconnecting the community with the Conemaugh River, and establishing a trail system.” – www.rural-design.org
The general theme of the workshop was creating connections. How could Blairsville become linked to the economic, transportation, and recreation activity around it, and how could the community become re-connected to the Conemaugh River and all it has to offer?
The main goal of the workshop was to realize the potential for economic and community enhancement by focusing on three main objectives: gateways, the Conemaugh River and Blairsville’s potential to become a canal/trail town. Other goals included identifying ways that Blairsville would need to change to capitalize on these positive community forces, and how they would need to change to prepare for the activity that would be sure to follow.
- Gateways – Identify and assess opportunities to connect local places and activities with each other.
- River – Identify and assess opportunities to connect the community with the Conemaugh River.
- Canal/Trail Town – Identify and assess opportunities to connect to regional recreation and heritage tourism opportunities.
At the end of the workshop participants were asked to “vote” for recommendations from any of the three objectives that they felt were both most important and most doable. The top voter-getters, which are listed below, were identified as priority projects.
- Riverfront Park – clear a viewshed to the river at Bairdstown Bridge area; construct boulder access area.
- Complete connections to regional trail system – West Penn Trail to the west; Hoodlebug Trail to the east.
- Conduct comprehensive historic and cultural resources survey/assessment.
- Beautify Route 22 landscape and enhance the eastern and western gateways.