Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau (PMVB) is proposing a grant program to assist with local tourism events, one example being the July 4th fireworks at Lake Wallenpaupack.

MILFORD - Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau (PMVB) is proposing a grant program to assist with local tourism events, one example being the July 4th fireworks at Lake Wallenpaupack.

Chris Barrett, Executive Director of the PMVB reported about the new fund, at the Pike County Commissioners’ meeting, November 15th.

He said that they would like to start a fund of approximately $75,000, using the PMVB assets. This would be separate from the lodging tax which is generated by the 3% tax visitors pay when they rent a room, and is largely funneled back to organizations in the Poconos that promote tourism (a percentage is retained by PMVB for the organization’s overall tourism marketing efforts).

Barrett stated that people have approached the PMVB with strong ideas for projects benefitting local tourism, and would like help to fund them, but no process was in place to assist them.

An application process would be set up, and projects would be evaluated to see if they meet certain criteria. Someone for instance, may need seed money to start a new festival, or would like to expand an existing event.

He used as an example, the fireworks hosted by the Chamber of the Northern Poconos at Lake Wallenpaupack every 4th of July. Sponsorships and donations pay for the fireworks. This major event is an attraction for the visitors who come to the area at that time of year. He said if they had an application for the fireworks and it met the criteria, PMVB would like to be able to help.

The grant would be advertised equally, he said, in their four-county region (Wayne, Pike, Monroe and Carbon). He invited the commissioners to provide their reaction to the idea.

Among the initiatives, PMVB is planning to make 90-second promotional “spots” to better promote the Poconos. They plan to do one in Milford in December.

A four county destination guide is being considered, similar to what PMVB had about 10 years ago. Now that they have an online map component, PMVB feels it is very important to have a printed version to be able to send to the guests before they decide to visit the destination. He noted that the guest doesn’t really care which county the destination is found.

An advocacy firm in Harrisburg was hired by PMVB. The state recently proposed a 5% increase in the hotel tax, which Barrett said “would have been devastating for our industry for a number of different reasons.” If the proposal had been passed, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh would have had the highest hotel taxes in the country. This would have really stunted the growth for conventions, he said. PMVB, he said, they will have someone advocating for them for such things as legislation, infrastructure, roadways and taxes.

Elder Abuse

The National Center for Elder Abuse is promoting warning signs that the public needs to consider during the holidays, when elderly persons are frequently visited by heir family.

Robin LoDolce, Director of the Pike County Area Agency on Aging, said, “The holidays is a time when a lot of families get back together… we are asking them to pay attention. There are things they may see now that they didn’t see last year, the last time they were with their loved one.”

Some of the questions raised, she said, are:

• Is the refrigerator full of food from the last time you were visiting?

• Is there medicine bottles emptied and not refilled?

• Is there some new person hanging around them that you have not been introduced to?

• Is their bank account empty?

The Pike County Elder Abuse Task Force is working to educate families and try and prevent things from happening. “We don’t want them to happen, we’d rather prevent them. But we are here to have people detect them so we can act on them,” she said.

Elder abuse can be reported by calling 1-800-490-8505. For more information visit the National Center on Elder Abuse at www.ncea.aoa.gov.

Pike County Area Agency on Aging may be contacted at 800-233-8911 (or 570-775-5550); visit online at www.pikeaaa.org.

[Other meeting items are found in the weekend print edition of The News Eagle.]

Pike County Commissioners meet on the first and third Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Administration Building, 506 Broad St., Milford.