Partnership project between SCA and the Trail Town Program to promote sustainable development in the towns along the Great Allegheny Passage. Project Leader: Elisa Mayes Project Dates: February - December 2011 Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org 
Confluence has had several events along the Trail at the start of summer that I was able to attend and here's a recap of what they were.
Old Home Day on 6/25 - This event went very well. The Confluence VFD chicken dinner sold out pretty early as many were attendance, both young and old. A town yard sale was also in conjuction on this day bringing many out. Later during the day, a German-style polka and oompa band (Shippensburg Blaskapelle) played in the bandstand. The band was a popular attration for the Old Home Day.
River and Wind Challenge on 6/4 - This yearly Great Allegheny Passage ride was yet again a success. There were over 100 participants. The ride to Meyersdale started at 8:00 AM with 75 riders and the ride to Ohiopyle started at noon with 37 riders.
Confluence Creative Arts Center is coming along with its weekly outreach. Volunteer times are every week on Thursdays with unique events most weekends. One popular gathering is "Coffee House" on Friday evenings.
Here's a few of things happening in the Trail Town of Meyersdale, PA:
I have been attending at least one of the Meyersdale Area Merchants Association (MAMA) meetings each month if not both. The group is starting a clean and green program for the town to help promote a better community both visually and environmentally. This program is an extension of the Preservaiton Plan and other community outreach.
I stopped by the Farmer’s Market after the last MAMA meeting and it had a good turnout with vendors from the area. Many of the good produce includes homemade breads, jellys, and pies from the local Amish community. The market is every Wednesday from 7:30-12:30
Maggie Adams 
Maggie Adams grew up in Findlay, Ohio before moving outside of Philadelphia during high school. While at the University of Pittsburgh, she majored in Environmental and Film studies and held internships with a community garden, a film festival, and a feature film's art department. After graduation, Maggie was the Art department assistant for a feature film and a freelance production assistant for various commercials. In the future she hopes to blend her interests of film production and environmental work.
June was another busy month for the Connellsville Community gardens! Among the Trail Town Outreach Corps (TTOC), a watering schedule was written up and Elisa, Will, Emma, Phil, and Mandy all were given a weekly watering assignment. If you see these faces in the gardens, thank them for their help!
The Youth Action crew and TTOC put together June’s first community garden event, where they planted wildflowers, marigolds, and sunflowers in the CCG beds in East Park. We had hoped to spend the afternoon in the park and play some kickball, but storm-clouds rolled in just as we began to plant and the sky darkened through the afternoon. We hurried to put the last seeds in the final bed just as the rain began.
We donated our first bag of endive greens, mustard, and arugula to the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen here in Connellsville. It was exciting to see the greens planted by the Youth Action Crew ready to be shared and enjoyed! The community center garden had an impressive number of tomatoes pop up again from last year’s planting, so they were herded into one bed for mystery tomatoes. The squash and melons have stretched their long vines and the sunflowers are getting taller! June’s heat proved wonders for the peppers, but the pea season is almost up.
We gathered some dried, rattling pods from the 3rd Street. beds to save as seed for next year. By the end of June, a bountiful display had grown along the 3rd Street beds with the Lions’ Club roses still in bloom, La Boheme’s swiss chard and peppers, and the CCG berries and greens. In the CCG plots along 3rd St., the endive and lettuce mixes are thriving around pepper bushes; the Golden Raspberries, Red Raspberries, and Strawberries have been neighborhood favorites. We found our first pepper of the season on June 14th along 3rd Street.
Later in June, we had a volunteer night in the garden across from the Armory. Community members came out to build a compost bin, remove poison ivy, and plant seedlings. The Domino’s here in Connellsville donated pizzas for the event and we snacked on some Golden Sweet Peas growing along the garden’s fence! It was a great chance to get to know the volunteers in the garden and learn about garden lime, poison ivy, and lasagna mulching.
July should be a calmer month for the community garden with more food to donate to the food bank and the start of pepper, tomato, eggplant, and bean seasons!
Trail Town Ice Cream
• I started the year off working on the project with Phil Wu but as Trail Count season became more prominent I started working on the project on my own.
• The previous year’s ice cream was not always consistent in quality so I am told so that was the first issue that I felt I needed to tackle. I started researching all the producers in the area. The search for high quality, local ice cream began. I talked to a few producers and thought about talking to bigger, local producers like Hershey and Galliker’s but decided that they were to large scale for the project. Finally I chose to change producers from Jackson Farms in Farmington, PA to Kerber’s Dairy in Irwin, PA.
• Kerber’s Dairy is a family owned company that originally used their own cattle but now use local cows from a number of farms in the area. I really liked that they still used local cow’s milk. Kerber’s has experience making fruit-based flavors so that was also a reason for the selection. Some of our delicious flavors have blueberries and cherries in them—retailers in the fruit-based towns critiqued the previous year’s ice cream to be icy more than creamy so this experienced fruit-based producer seemed to be a good choice. My final reason for this select was Tom Kerber, who makes the ice cream, was very customer friendly and worked with me to make sure our flavors would be high quality and remain creamy in texture.
• Once the producer was selected I had to find a way to distribute the ice cream to the five towns along the Great Allegheny Passage. Kerber’s delivers but our order does not meet their minimum order requirements. I looked into refrigerated truck rental but everything was out of budget so for this year Phil and I will deliver ice cream in ice chests.
• In order to raise money for our delivery expenses, I coordinated a fundraiser at Connellsville’s Geranium Festival on Memorial Day weekend. We gave away samples of Connellsville’s Youghiogheny Mud ice cream and sold handmade hula hoops. The fundraiser was very successful.
• Now that ice cream is in retailers, I am working on a Trail Town Ice Cream Passport design and will be starting to look at sustainable solutions to some of our hiccups like delivery for the long term.
Mandy Metzger 
TTOC is responsible for maintaining a database of available Trail Town real estate properties along the Great Allegheny Passage. We work with the Trail Town Program’s website listings at http://trailtowns.org/available-properties.aspx . Mandy and Will work as a team calling real estate agents and property owners to keep up to date information on the website. As a team, TTOC is on the look-out for new available properties. Recently, the Trail Town Program created posters to be displayed in the “for sale” buildings. What’s really cool about the posters is that they feature a QR code that will link a potential buyer to the available properties page on the Trail Town Program’s website showing this property and all others in the Towns.
We also work with the website www.historicproperties.com . Here we list any new significant properties to their website, many of which are landmarked on the National Register of Historic Places.
William Prince 
William Prince hails from Elizabeth, Pennsylvania – just outside of Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with an undergraduate degree in Humanities in 2009 and returned to Pitt in the fall of 2010 to complete a certificate in Historic Preservation, and he is very passionate about this subject. Over the last few years, William has studied, lived, and traveled to Europe particularly London, Paris, Rome, and Prague.
Connellsville is now full swing into summer. The river and trail are both experiencing a lot of traffic as students spend their summer near the cool water, and individuals and families set off on biking vacations.
• The excitement at the council meeting in June was primarily focused on the prospect of a hotel being built in Connellsville. Widewaters Group, who owns the property on Martin’s Plaza which could house a hotel, has been in contact with a member of C.B. Richard Ellis Brokerage in New York about developing a small-scale hotel in Connellsville. In order for this project to move forward, the city must relinquish their option to buy the property for $100,000, which expires in 2015. We have yet to hear any decision concerning the option.
• Connellsville hosted its first Wednesday Walk of the season on June 15. The walk, lead by Michael Edwards, focused on Connellsville West Side Churches.
• Connellsville had a Preservation Planning community meeting, lead by Erin Hammerstedt of Preservation Pennsylvania, at the Christian Church in Connellsville. The meeting was productive and the group decided that the highest priority preservation projects involve promoting Connellsville pride and starting a “clean and green” project in which we choose different sections of the city to clean up and make more aesthetically pleasing.
• On July 25th and 26th, community members and trail users enjoyed Art on the Yough and Braddock’s Crossing. On the 25th, during the commencement of the event, the Historical Society’s new pavilion was dedicated to William Balsley. Re-enactors set up tents and tables demonstrating life during the Revolutionary War. At one pm on both days, the sound of gunpowder exploding echoed in Yough Park as re-enactors and community members pulled up their pant legs up and crossed the Yough, symbolizing Braddock’s crossing of the river during the war. At the other end of the Yough Park, 6+ regional artists displayed handmade jewelry, pottery, and paintings at Art on the Yough. Painting bird houses and frames, as well as making flower crowns entertained children while their parents perused the art. Live music pulled the event together.
• Spur loops for the Connellsville bike loop were installed at the end of June. The loop now connects bikers to the Amtrak Station and the business district in Connellsville.
• Sheree Cockrell has begun the third mural panel on the side of ArtWorks Connellsville. This mural, which will depict a fall scene, is part of a city-wide beautification project.
Connellsville Youth Action Crew
• The group planted two plots in East Park with wild flowers and sunflowers.
• YAC assisted in the planting of the new South Side Community Garden Plot.
• We are continuing to work toward getting the parking meters painted.
GAPSBN - June Update 
Phil, Elisa, and Emma have made a lot of progress in refining the GAP SBN assessment process.
• The assessment ranking system has been finalized. Our two trials using the new ranking system with Confluence Cyclery and Savage River Lodge allowed us to work out the kinks and helped us to develop a smooth functioning assessment system.
• Our first assessment reports will be going out at the end of June.
• GAP SBN brochures, designed by Phil Wu, have been printed and are being distributed to businesses in the Trial Towns.
• The new GAP SBN website has officially launched! Check out GAP SBN members, useful resources, and the GAP SBN blog at www.gapsbn.com .
• The SCA Trail Town Outreach Corps continues to post weekly blogs. Check out this month’s blogs at www.gapsbn.com .
• Due to a very productive meeting with some Connellsville City Council members, the Board of Health Director, and a representative from Veolia Environmental Services, a large, centralized recycling bin will be installed the first weekend in July near the Street Department in Connellsville. Because residents currently have once a month recycling, and businesses do not have any recycling, this will make recycling much easier for both groups of community members.
• At Art on the Yough in Connellsville, the SCA Trail Town Outreach Corps served as a recycling receptacle and also provided information on how and where to recycle in Connellsville for community members.
• We will continue promoting recycling and informing community members on where and how to recycle at Farmers and Artisans markets in Connellsville.
In the beginning of June, each of the Trail Town counties (Westmoreland, Fayette, and Somerset) met with Erin Hammerstadt of Preservation Pennsylvania for workshops to plan and decide on projects related to preservation in each of the Trail Towns.
June 6 was the first meeting in Connellsville, PA for Fayette County. The final discussion focused on a combination of building community pride and cleaning up a section of the downtown. We are hoping to pair it with an event such as Mum Fest in Connellsville and have the business community involved.
The following day was West Newton in Westmoreland County. Members of DWNI were present as well as the owner of The Trailside, Rod Darby. Here was an interesting discussion that resulted in West Newton needing to educate locals (both residents and public officials) about the assets of both the Trail and the Downtown. The objective is to create a video to be displayed in town during an event.
On June 13, Somerset residents came together and decided on projects such as “clean and green” neighborhoods and a railroad history audio tour.
TTOC will be working in the towns with groups to help continue these projects throughout the year!
West Newton, or as I’ve come to call it “WN,” has had a busy year thus far! We initially started doing town tours in early March, and I immediately fell in love with the WN. I have been to West Newton before as I grew up about 10-15 minutes away in Elizabeth, PA, but never spent much time here. Each month, I attend at least one Downtown West Newton Inc (DWNI) meetings, usually the Design Committee. At my first meeting in March, I was introduced to existing projects and plans for West Newton including Simmeral Square, History Ribbon for the Bridge, and the annual events. Also at this first meeting, we discussed interested projects for me to work on as well as add to the list, and as discussed, to create a historic district. I am continuously working on this each day in the office and while in town. One of my favorite things to do is explore Main Street and its back alleys finding the variations of brick patterns, the diversity in architectural details, the span of styles, and much more. The ultimate goal of my research is a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. At this time, I’m still working on the descriptions of about 40 some buildings and their significance in history. I am starting with a Historic Resource Survey Form to find out if this potential district is eligible for the National Register. This first step should be completed sometime in July before sending it to the State Historic Preservation Office for approval.
A few of the activities that I’ve helped out with in West Newton include their yearly “Great American Clean-up” on May 7, 2011. Members of DWNI, the community, and myself went out and conquered several parts of downtown by collecting trash, planting flowers, and beautifying WN. About 20 individuals volunteered their time to help make West Newton a better place to live on this late spring morning.
Another on-going project that actually started at our town tour was the creation of a brochure for the West Newton Cemetery which is situated right along the GAP. In recent years, many cyclists have explored into this picturesque landscape known as the cemetery. In 2010, DWNI received a grant to improve the entry to the Cemetery. Many trail users, both local and visitors have only just recently noticed the new signage for a graveyard dating back to 1852. The next step is to finalize the brochure and print for visitors to tour and learn about this attraction in WN.
Other news DWNI includes working with one of their partners, Mon Valley Initiative (MVI), to create a housing improvement initiative, increasing promotion of available properties, and getting even closer to breaking ground on the Simmeral Square green space and park right along the Yough River and West Newton Bridge!
As the West Newton point person, I also work with the Westmoreland Yough Trail Council (WYTC). They are the group that maintains the portion of the GAP in Westmoreland County. I attend their monthly meeting to hear what they are working on to help improve the GAP as well as what activities and events coming up.
One of their major improvements that they have been working on is an overlook at the trail head looking over the Yough and downtown West Newton. This was originally set for the early summer, but due to its flood plan location, a more involved plan needs to be reviewed by West Newton Council.
On June 5, 2011, WYTC celebrated Trail Day at the West Newton Station. Here they provided free drinks and snacks to trail users. I helped by passing out snacks and running in and out for the hot dogs which sold out! WYTC gave out 250 hot dogs, made $340 in donations, gained four new memberships, and celebrated the trail with other trail users and even my parents!
For the remainder of the year, WYTC is working to promote and organize the Poker Run and Fall Oldies Dance among other projects.
West Newton is working on many things between the Downtown and The Great Allegheny Passage! I love WN and so should you!
Emma Strong 
Emma Strong was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Hiram College, in Northeast Ohio in 2010 with a degree in Environmental Studies and minors in music and photography. Emma’s professional interests include urban and rural sustainability and environmental/cultural interaction. Emma loves to travel, particularly to South East Asia, and hopes to combine her passions of environmental studies, photography, and traveling.
Phil and Emma are sharing responsibility for organizing the GAP Sustainable Business Network (SBN). We take turns writing blogs for the SBN as well as coming up with sustainability tips. We worked to develop a new ranking system for potential businesses. This assessment covers electrical equipment, HVAC, lighting, waste management, water use, building exterior and beyond, and sustainable purchasing. We have tested out our new system and will begin outreach to trail town business owners who are not yet members of the GAP SBN. It is a goal to add atleast another 10 businesses to the network throughout 2011.
The premise of the synchronized count was that, as the organizations that promote the use of and economic development along the Great Allegheny Passage, the Trail Town Program and the Allegheny Trail Alliance wanted to better understand trail use patterns. Each season we monitor trail use via electronic and manual counts at 10 locations (from Boston in Elizabeth Township to Cumberland, Maryland), but one key piece of information that was missing is how busy the various sections of the trail were in relation to one another. This synchronized count was a first-time effort and took place on the 36th anniversary of the last Western Maryland passenger ride of May 21, 1975. By holding this count, we were out en masse working to understand the tremendous impact this trail (and everyone's local efforts) have had on this region.
We had 24 volunteers counting at about 16 locations, including McKeesport, Boston, Cedar Creek Park, Smithton, Adelaide, Connellsville, Ohiopyle, Confluence, Rockwood, Meyersdale, Deal, Frostburg (Maryland), Woodcock Hollow (Maryland), Cash Valley (Maryland), and Cumberland (Maryland). The volunteers counted trail users simultaneously from noon to 2 pm on Saturday, May 21. The task was to stand at a certain location along the trail (partnered with another volunteer) and tally the number of bikers and walkers who passed by. I had a sheet for each volunteer to note not only how many users have passed but also whether the trail user was going toward the north or south direction, as well as whether the user was a biker or a walker.
This synchronized count was vital to our understanding of trail use dynamics, and we'll be having two additional similar counts during the rest of the summer to gain more insight into the use of the trail. In the meantime, we will continue to do traditional manual counts in the middle of the trail during the whole year. In these counts, we obtain zip codes from trail users and compare our tallies to the data we get from the electronic counters.
For the Historic Preservation Plan, I work with Erin Hammerstadt of Preservation Pennsylvania. During the months of April and May, Erin reached out to each of the Trail Town communities organizations to learn more about projects and ideas that each Town would like to work on or see happen. Each town has different assets in its historic resources and buildings. Starting in June, Erin and the TTOCers will be gathering in the communities to start projects related to historic preservation but also community improvements.
One of the first successes of the Trail Town Preservation Plan projects was a listing on the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh (YPA) Top 10 Preservation Opportunities. I nominated the Connellsville Armory and it was selected to be in this year's report. In the last few years, properties that have been listed on the Top 10 list have received over 80 million dollars in reinvestment or redevelopment saving these structures from demolition.
Mandy and Emma have been working on improving recycling operations in Connellsville. We did a lot of research about Connellsville’s current recycling system and looked into what changes could be implemented for residential and commercial recycling. We met with a few city council members, the board of health officer, and a representative from Veolia (our waste management provider) to discuss the options we came up with and came to an agreement that Veolia would install a large centralized recycling bin in Connellsville. This will allow residents to recycle more often than once a month and will give businesses the opportunity to recycle. We will now begin an intense community outreach campaign to inform citizens about what, how, and where to recycle in Connellsville.