PA Route 6 Alliance’s 2023 Educational Workshop and Awards highlight PA Wilds initiatives, communities and partners
Leaders from across the PA Route 6 corridor came together on October 5-6 to learn more about revitalization projects taking place in the region and to network and discover new ways to keep their communities thriving.
The PA Route 6 Educational Workshop, Annual Meeting & “Do 6” Awards took place this year in Corry, PA. This year’s theme was “Act, Adapt, and Attract.”
PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship COO Abbi Peters was a presenter for the educational workshop on October 5, as part of a two-person panel focused on attracting and retaining remote workers and how coworking spaces can help communities support the modern workforce. Sean Fedorko also offered insights into this needed infrastructure based on his own experience starting the Radius coworking space in Erie.
“The focus of my brief presentation was really on the big picture of the Wilds Are Working program, including its goals, how it came together, the high-level details, and some of the major impacts we’ve already seen based on feedback from the participants and communities,” said Peters. “One thing we have seen consistently in feedback from the remote workers is how important a true coworking space is for their experience. Those who had a designated coworking space ranked that part of their experience high, whereas the remote workers who didn’t have that professional and collaborative work environment felt that they may have missed out on opportunities to dig into the overall experience.”
Peters noted that the pilot community of Bellefonte received feedback that their coworking space needed more space to handle a growing remote work community and for private calls. Downtown Bellefonte Inc., which manages the coworking space known as SpringBoard, took that feedback to heart. Just months after the remote workers had left, the nonprofit made the decision to relocate to a different building in Bellefonte in order to meet those accommodation requests. Since, coworking membership has doubled.
Other sessions that took place during the educational workshop highlighted efforts related to active transportation, adaptive reuse, historical preservation, entrepreneurship, and what we can do to make communities more appealing to visitors and residents alike.
Following the workshops, attendees participated in a walking tour of downtown Corry to see examples of local revitalization efforts in progress before heading out to a farm-to-table dinner at 3 Pillarz Farm, located in Columbus, a part of neighboring Warren County.
The second day of the event provided an opportunity for the PA Route 6 Alliance staff and board to give an update on the progress of their programs and initiatives, to build on concepts highlighted during the workshop through the keynote address over lunch, and to hand out the 2023 Do 6 Awards.
Keynote speaker Jeff Siegler of Revitalize, or Die presented on the topic of “Civic Pride & Civic Apathy” – and he emphasized that only by fostering a sense of civic pride can communities begin to beat back the effects of apathy. By bringing people together, restoring beauty, and fostering affection, communities can engage their residents and build pride in place, which can also yield economic returns.
Following the keynote was the presentation of the annual “Do 6” Awards to honor individuals, businesses, and organizations across Route 6 who have contributed to their communities and local areas in meaningful and exceptional ways.
Two of the five 2023 Do 6 Award recipients hail from the Pennsylvania Wilds region, which overlaps the Route 6 corridor in four counties: Warren, McKean, Potter and Tioga.
Coudersport’s Eliot Ness Museum, located in Potter County, was honored with the Heritage Tourism Award, which is presented to a business or project that furthers economic and tourism development while respecting the heritage and cultural resources of the PA Route 6 Corridor. Eliot Ness Museum founder, board president & CEO Steve Green accepted the award on behalf of the museum.
The Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau was honored with the Heritage Leadership Award, which honors a person(s), business or organization for meaningful contributions and/or partnerships, by enriching communities through landscape initiatives or historic preservation. In addition to the Do 6 Award, ANFVB Executive Director Linda Devlin, who also serves on the PA Route 6 Alliance Board and has announced that she will be retiring in 2024, was recognized for her years of dedication to promoting McKean County as an outdoor recreation destination.
Other award recipients from across the PA Route 6 corridor include: Artisan of the Year Award – The Gathering Place; Heritage Partnership Award – Hurry Hill Maple Farm & Museum; and Heritage Community of the Year Award – Honesdale, PA, which will host the 2024 PA Route 6 Educational Workshop, Annual Meeting and Do 6 Awards program, as is tradition.
For more information about PA Route 6 Alliance, visit PARoute6.com/2023-annual-meeting.
ABOUT THE PA WILDS
The Pennsylvania Wilds is a 13-county region that includes the counties of Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Warren, and northern Centre. The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc., is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to integrate conservation and economic development in a way that inspires the communities of the Pennsylvania Wilds. The PA Wilds Center promotes the region and its 2+ million acres of public lands as a premier outdoor recreation destination as a way to diversify local economies, inspire stewardship, attract investment, retain population and improve quality of life. The PA Wilds Center’s core programs seek to help businesses leverage the PA Wilds brand and connect with new market opportunities, including: the Wilds Cooperative of PA, a network of more than 575 place-based businesses and organizations, and the PA Wilds Conservation Shop, a retail outlet primarily featuring products sourced from the WCO. For more information on the PA Wilds Center, visit www.PAWildsCenter.org. To learn more about the WCO, visit www.WildsCoPA.org. Explore the PA Wilds at www.PAWilds.com. Find regionally made products at www.ShopThePAWilds.com.
Britt Madera | Communications Manager
PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc.
[email protected] | 570-948-1051