Officials at Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area (LHV) applaud Governor Wolf for including funding for Pennsylvania’s Heritage Areas Program in the proposed 2017-2018 state budget.
“We are very pleased that Governor Wolf has included funding for the Heritage Areas Program in his proposed budget,” said Natalie Gelb, Executive Director of LHV. For many years in the past, the governors’ budgets did not provide funding for the Pennsylvania Heritage Areas. Fortunately, legislators on both sides of the aisle, in the State House and Senate Chambers, have advocated successfully to restore appropriations for the program to the final budget in order to sustain these important entities. As a past chair of the York-Lancaster Heritage Area, Governor Wolf particularly understands and supports the important work of the 12 Heritage Areas in Pennsylvania and the tremendous economic, educational, and cultural impact they have on the Commonwealth. The Lackawanna River Heritage Trail, along with the many other educational, cultural and environmental programs and projects of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley, has transformed the culture of Northeastern Pennsylvania for the thousands of people who use the trail and enjoy these benefits every day. The activities of LHV contribute to the vitality and prosperity of our communities and make Northeastern Pennsylvania a great place to live, work and play.”
LHV projects and programs, including the development of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail (LRHT), play a vital role in the state’s economy. A recent Trail User Survey and Economic Impact Analysis showed the total economic impact of the Heritage Trail was $91.9 million in Pennsylvania, with $72 million of that number generated in Lackawanna County. Urban Partners, a community and economic development consulting firm based in Philadelphia, prepared the analysis.
According to HeritagePA, the state’s collective body of 12 state-designated Heritage Areas, heritage tourism supports more than 25,000 jobs and heritage defined visitors were responsible for more than $126.5 million in state and local tax revenues in 2014.