Learn about the community impact of recent grants provided by the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau - with a new round open for 2024!
From beautifying small towns and restoring historical icons to upgrading playground equipment and baseball fields, tourism continues giving back in the Pocono Mountains. Since 2022, the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau (PMVB) has awarded half-a-million dollars among nearly 60 regional projects through its Community Impact Grant. To celebrate the program's return for 2024, we wanted to show you some of the projects most recently funded in 2023.
Tolino Vineyards is one of the great small businesses in downtown Stroudsburg. Right outside the wine bar, events are held throughout the year in Courthouse Square, bringing thousands of locals and visitors together for Stroud Fest, Pride Fest, Winterfest, and many others.
“It feel like we're not just part of the community, but they are our friends as well. And it's just fun,” said Marie Felten, bartender at Tolino Vineyards.
Crowds attending those events will be protected from traffic, thanks to new removable safety bollards at the corner of 7th and Main. They're also being installed across other streets leading to Courthouse Square.
“For safety reasons, we need to isolate the area so vehicles can't drive through. In the news there have been a number of incidents recently where there have been mass casualties because vehicles drove through crowds,” explained Larry Kopp, borough manager.
In Honesdale, a new mobile stage will allow free events and summer concerts to continue in Central Park, the very park that served as inspiration for the famous seasonal song ‘Winter Wonderland.’
“This year we're focusing on finding smaller acts to see how the logistics work and how can we really utilize this awesome opportunity that's going to be for the borough, and for everyone,” said Kelsey Samson of Honesdale Roots & Rhythm.
It replaces a former stage, also funded by the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, which the community has since outgrown.
“Performing on the stage is going to be very exciting. You feel confidence and a boost of energy when you're part of something new in the community,” smiled Ekat, performer/musician.
In Milford, the former county jail and courthouse now houses borough offices and the police department. Historically accurate shutters have been added to the stone building, dating back to 1814, to replicate the original shutters which deteriorated over time.
“It's one of the most treasured buildings in the borough, and one of the oldest. I think preserving it is really important,” said Yana Thatcher, board member of Milford Enhancement Committee.
Across from the 'new' shutters at 'The Old Jail' is another project funded by the Pocono Mountains Community Impact Grant back in 2022 – custom trash cans throughout the business district.
“Preserving Milford is very important for the entire community. It’s a wonderful, historic town. If we don't continuously work to preserve and enhance it, this will not be the place we know and love,” Thatcher added.
The No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum in Lansford also received a financial boost. A new ADA accessible door and ceiling fans will ensure a comfortable experience for guests, while providing circulation for precious artifacts on display.
“Sadly, it does get very hot in this old building in the summertime, and now in the winter it gets very cold,” explained Zachary Petroski, president, Panther Creek Valley Foundation.
Built in 1912, the museum originally served as a locker room for coal miners, and now exists to keep their stories alive.
Visitors can also explore the world's oldest, continuously operated deep anthracite coal mine, as the Pocono Television Network brought viewers along for in 2023. The season runs April through November.
“Our mission is to preserve this site in perpetuity so we can teach the younger generations about what built this area as part of the Industrial Revolution,” Petroski added.
That was a look at four of the 37 projects funded in 2023 through the Pocono Mountains Community Impact Grant. Applications are once again open for a limited time through March 3, 2024, on PoconoMountains.com/Grants.