By Peter Becker
HAWLEY - In addition to highlighting progress in advancing Hawley area business, honors were bestowed by the Downtown Hawley Partnership (DHP), April 29, to contributors to the community.
The occasion was the 5th annual meeting of the DHP, held at the United Methodist Church Great Hall. In keeping with their tradition, one of the Partnership Awards was kept as a surprise, to an individual who has shown dedicated service to the Hawley community. Police Chief Daniel Drake was given the 2013 award, presented by Mayor Kevin Hawk.
Partnership Awards were also presented to The Dime Bank; Lighthouse Harbor Marina and the American Legion Wilson-Kelch Post 311.
Revitalize 'anchor building'
The DHP is discussing development of an anchor building in downtown Hawley, for business. There are a number of investors partnering with the DHP. Anthony Waldron, who chairs the DHP Asset Committee, stated that the project is "on a smaller scale than the Silk Mill" but added only that DHP was not ready to "make an announcement."
Waldron discussed their successful facade program. Over $60,000 in grants have been provided business owners to improve the exterior of their properties.
Ritz Company Playhouse will soon be utilizing grant funds to upgrade the marquee and do other enhancements to Ritz Theater.
Grant funds are funneled from the PA Department of Community & Economic Development.
Officers for the DHP were installed for 2013-2014. The Executive Committee includes Rev. William Samford is president; Sue Currier, 1st vice-president; Maura Rottmund, 2nd vice-president; Joe Faubel, treasurer; Nancy Morales, secretary; Maria Womer, past president and Barbara Briden, member-at-large.
Jill Carletti, Sandy Gabrielson and Justin Genzlinger have started new three-year terms on the board. Other DHP board members include Jeanne Genzlinger, Susie George, Mayor Kevin Hawk, Elaine Herzog, Aimee Skier, Richard Teeter and Anthony Waldron.
Samford spoke of the dedication and enthusiasm of their volunteers, who share a love for Hawley. He said that the DHP has over 75 members; 11 were added this year.
A separate story reports on a talk by keynote speaker Dr. Joann Hudak, Ed.D., chairperson of Workforce Wayne.
Among other highlights:
• AM Skier Insurance is planning a large outdoor mural on the north side of their office building, overlooking Middle Creek. This will help serve to welcome people to the downtown.
• Their web site, www.VisitHawleyPA.com has exceeded 1,000 visits each month.
• DHP membership "mixers" will be resuming, held periodically at local restaurants.
• A new promotional video about Hawley is being prepared.
• Hawley has been named a PA Route 6 Heritage Community. A joint marketing plan has been approved with Hawley, White Mills and Honesdale to help enhance tourism and economic development, while celebrating their shared history.
• A quarterly membership newsletter is planned to start, hopefully this summer.
• DHP has hired a part-time Project Coordinator, Simon Knox. He will aid in implementation of their five-year plan.
• The second season of the Hawley Bikeshare program is beginning. Bicycles, sponsored by local businesses, are available at key locations in town to borrow for the day.
• Hawley Farmers Market, held in Bingham Park, will be held on Fridays, 2 to 5:30 p.m., starting May 10th. The market is held through the last Friday in October.
• DHP is continuing to work with a variety of partners to create a recreational trail, linking downtown Hawley with the Lake Wallenpaupack beach. The trail would link with the existing Wallenpaupack Creek Trail and Lake Trail.
• The third annual Wally Lake Fest was held in August 2012 and brought thousands of residents and visitors together to celebrate with a host of events at the lake and downtown. Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau, at the Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center, saw a record 1,452 people just in one day. PPL nearly doubled their previous Dam Tour weekend record with 1,225 guests.
• Hawley Hoedown in October and the Hawley Winterfest in December continue in popularity. Winterfest profits are invested back into the community, with donations to the Hawley Public Library and the Ritz Company Playhouse.
Anyone interested in membership information or to learn more about DHP events may call (570)226-4064; email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.VisitHawleyPA.com.