Capturing Opportunities . . . Once bustling communities filled with the soot and fire of the coal and coke era, the residents of the towns along the Monongahela River are looking at that water corridor with new eyes. The vision is of a river that will offer residents and visitors access to this waterway for outdoor recreation - kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, fishing and more.
That vision goes further as "river towns" turn and look back into their communities and see cultural and heritage assets and commercial building stock in a new light. Places for businesses that support the emerging river recreation as well as restaurants and coffee shops, lodging, unique shops and other tourism related services to grow and prosper.
Capturing Opportunities in the Mon River Valley means a new vibrancy. The community leaders engaged in the Mon River Valley Coalition are change agents. Their vision and work will be a rebirth - creating a new economy that will breathe life back into towns - recapturing their past and moving into a brighter future!
he Mon River Valley Coalition was launched in 2013 and over a dozen communities bordering the Monongahela River now participate. In 2014, a Five Year Action Plan was developed by Coalition members which set priorities for their work. This plan can be found here.
The directors of the National Road Heritage Corridor and the River Town Program lead this effort. For more information on the work of the Mon River Valley Coalition, contact:Donna Holdorf, Executive Director, National Road Heritage Corridor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cathy McCollom, Director, The River Town Program, email@example.com
Since the Coalition launched, the Action Agenda has been updated as early projects have been completed. Key priorities over the next few years include attracting outdoor recreational businesses to the Mon River Valley as well as visitors to experience the Mon River in new ways. The Action Agenda for 2016-2019 can be found HERE.
MVA named managing organization for Monongahela River Water Trail
Charleroi, PA, February 8, 2018 – The Pennsylvania Water Trail Partnership has named the Mon Valley Alliance (MVA) as the managing organization for the Monongahela River Water Trail.
The Pennsylvania Water Trails Partnership, which manages the Pennsylvania Water Trails Program, is made up of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and the National Park Service.
The water trail is designated with the Pennsylvania Water Trail Program. MVA plans to work closely with the Mon River Towns Program to form a strong coalition of organizations and individuals to work on behalf of this regional asset.
“Tourism is the second largest industry in Pennsylvania and the Mon Valley is a great place to visit with the river chief among many reasons to bring people here,” said Christopher Whitlatch, Chief Executive Officer of the Mon Valley Alliance. “We believe the water trail can help our current businesses as well as encourage new startups on our main streets and on our riverfronts.”
MVA will work with Mon River Towns to update signage and maps and to increase recreational access and education. “MVA is excited to work with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to continuously improve access to our river for generations to come.”
As the managing organization, MVA will be responsible to bring the eight water trail principles to the Monongahela River. They include partnerships, stewardship, volunteering, education, conservation, community vitality, diversity and wellness and wellbeing.
The Mon River Towns Program helps communities to recognize the river as an asset around which potential community and economic development can occur, and thus a resource worthy of protection.
“We are pleased that MVA undertook this responsibility on behalf of the region,” said Cathy McCollom, Director of the Mon River Towns Program. “The Mon River Water Trail has not had a central managing organization and we look forward to partnering with MVA to breathe new life into this program”
The Pennsylvania Water Trail Partnership also offers a mini-grant program for small projects along the river. MVA and Mon River Town invites your project ideas which may be submitted through their websites at monvalleyalliance.org or monrivertowns.com.
At the recent Mon Valley Coalition Meeting held on January 12 at California University of PA., Representative Bud Cook announced a Conference to be held on January 25. Assets, Attractions and Activities, from 2pm – 8 pm at the Washington VFD 1314 Axton Avenue. Click here to download more information on this event.
The Mon River Towns Program is pleased to announce that Dr. Steve Selin, Professor in the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. has published in the Sustainability Journal, “Elaborating the Role of Backbone Leadership, Organizations in Sustainable Tourism Development, The Monongahela River Valley Coalition.”
This article reflects over a year of research completed by Dr. Selin, including multiple interviews on the community and economic development collaborative program of the Mon River Towns Program and the subsequent Mon River Valley Coalition. The article can be accessed here.
The Morgantown Area Paddlers recently completed another great year of encouraging paddling on the Mon River! 13 paddlers were on the final December 3rd paddle. 39 trips were hosted by this group in 2017 averaging 10 paddlers each trip.
The Morgantown Area Paddlers (MAP) also announced they are working with Star City, WVU Landscape Architecture Professor Vaika Haas and her students, and Morgantown North Rotary (MNR) on developing plans to revitalize the Star City boat ramp area. In addition, MAP has quotes in hand for replacing the broken low dock with a larger, L-shaped dock to which a kayak/canoe launch will be attached, and which will enable easier motorized boat access to the river once the boat ramp cement is replaced. Various sources of funding for this large project are being investigated
More big news was recently announced for the Morgantown riverfront area as the City recently announced it received $4.1 million for the Waterfront Revitalization Project from the Hazel Ruby McQuain Trust. Included in this project will be a handicapped-accessible kayak/canoe launch next to the Walnut St. boat ramp, and potentially, launches attached to other existing docks along the riverfront. Kayak lockers will allow paddlers to securely store their boats, paddles and other gear while exploring, dining and shopping in Downtown or the Wharf District. Scheduled for completion in 2019, the long-overdue beautification of the area, as well as other projects in and around the Amphitheatre, will be great for those of us who love and use the Mon River.
The Monongahela Area Chamber of Commerce Cordially invites you to attend The Building Project Kick Off Press Conference. Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018 from 11:30AM Until 1:30PM. Located at 211 West Main Street, Monongahela, PA 15063 (formerly The Finishing Touch). Remarks from Community Bank, EQT Corporation, Mon Valley Alliance. Please RSVP: 724.258.5919 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mon River Valley Coalition gratefully acknowledges support from the Mon River Valley Coalition's participating communities. Project funding support has also been secured from the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, Washington County Tourism Promotion Agency (a division of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce), the Greene County Tourism Promotion Agency and the Department of Community and Economic Development
CALENDER OF EVENTS
There are always fun things to do along the Mon River. Stay connected to all the upcoming events happening along the Mon River!
The River Towns Program is a regional economic development and community revitalization initiative for communities connected to an accessible and navigable waterway offering outdoor recreational opportunities for visitors and residents. More Info on the River Town Program